PASTA AND BEANS was, in some form, a staple around our house when I was growing up. It was the “catch phrase” for pasta, beans, and a lot of other things. The beans could be any type that you liked, cannellini, garbanzo, borlotti etc. The pasta could be your choice. We liked farfalle (bowties) or shells. Many times the dish included greens of some sort – all kinds of cabbage, escarole, broccoli rabe etc. It was all called PASTA AND BEANS, regardless of whatever else you added, and was a common example of “peasant food” on the Italian table.
As with many of my mother, Loretta’s, dishes, we didn’t think much of the peasant aspect, as we knew it was good, hearty, and delicious. This was so typical of dishes she would serve us on meatless Fridays or “holy days” of abstinence. We never missed the meat!
Thinking about the PASTA AND BEANS of old, I changed the ingredients a little to include brussel sprouts – roasted, of course, knowing the great flavor they would bring to this old Italian favorite. They are chopped up in the food processor for this recipe, so they present a little more like cabbage. Those who say they don’t like brussel sprouts must never have tasted them roasted. They are amazing in this recipe and contribute to the overall buttery flavor of the dish. It’s tasty, easy, and healthy. Your family will love this!
Let’s take a look!
PASTA AND BEANS
Prep: 35 minutes
1 lb. pasta (I like farfalle or shells for this dish)
1 lb. Fresh Brussel Sprouts
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, chopped finely
Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste for the brussel sprouts
Dash Red Pepper Flakes
Olive Oil for mixing the brussel sprouts
1-15 oz Can Cannellini Beans ( or you can use dry if you want to take the time to cook them)
Lots of Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste for the pasta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Golden Breadcrumb Topping:
2 C. Fresh White Italian Breadcrumbs mixed with 2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil and toasted under the broiler until golden.
Prepare your pasta according to package directions.
Make your breadcrumbs and set aside.
Clean your brussel sprouts, cut the ends off, and slice them in half.
Toss them with garlic, salt and pepper, lots of fresh Rosemary, the red pepper flakes and drizzle with olive oil.
Spread them in a pan and roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes until fork tender.
Place the brussel sprouts in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop coarsely. Do not grind them up. You want them chunky in small pieces.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Mix with the pasta, the brussel sprouts, beans, salt and pepper, and plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Generously drizzle the pasta mixture with lots of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Top with the Golden Breadcrumb Topping described above.
PARLA COME MANGI!
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