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Pasta with cannellini beans and rocket recipe

Pasta with cannellini beans and rocket recipe

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  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Vegetable pasta

Rich with the flavours of Tuscany, this robust pasta dish makes a great laid-back supper.

11 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 375g small pasta shells (such as conchigliette or orecchiette)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes in rich juice
  • 250ml vegetable stock, hot
  • 300g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • 50g rocket, roughly torn into pieces
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:12min ›Ready in:22min

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, carrot and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, over a medium heat, until tender.
  3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the stock and beans and half the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta and tip into a large serving dish. Add the rocket and half the basil to the sauce, then pour over the pasta and toss together.
  5. Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining Parmesan and basil and scatter over the top.

Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.


*If you don't have any fresh basil, add 2 tbsp pesto to the tomato sauce. *Grissini (Italian breadsticks) make a good accompaniment to an Italian-style meal.

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Reviews in English (1)

really gorgeous and doesn't taste healthy at all! we used penne - could really be made with any pasta. I could imagine adding bacon but then the healthy aspect would be all but lost, ha! Could also use wholewheat pasta-29 Oct 2012

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A little pasta with beans history!

Legend has it that the original pasta with beans recipe was born in the inns of ancient Rome! However, I think the Romans were more likely to have been eating chickpeas and pasta. Beans were first brought to Europe from the Americas in the 1500s!

Even so, pasta e fagioli is still a pretty ancient dish most probably dating back to Medieval times. Food historians say that when Catherine de Medici travelled to France to marry Henry II, she took him a number of gifts including a bag of beans and a collection of silver forks. The Italians were the only western Europeans using forks at that time!

Pasta with beans became very popular with the rural population as they could make it with their own home produce. It was hearty, filling and nutritious and cost very little to make! Still true!

Here in Veneto, pasta e fagioli became a traditional autumn soup because this was the time of year families slaughtered pigs. Pork rind and bones were used to flavour the soup. Today, of course, we don’t need to slaughter a pig to make it. Adding some good pancetta or guanciale works well too, although some Venetians still use pork rind.

Notes about this recipe

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Cannellini bean dip

A basic dip can be dressed up to look fabulous. You can accessorise it with herbs, seeds and oils. You can match it up with different breads and give it different themes so no-one will ever know it’s all part of the master plan to keep things simple. Urvashi shares her recipe for a trusted New Year's Eve dip.

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I’m at home for New Year’s Eve this year. Truth be told I am too tired to go out partying. It’s been an incredibly busy year and Christmas and so I’m looking forward to a night in front of the fire without the worry of babysitters, dogsitters and taxis home.

Food and fizz will play a big part in celebrations even though I‘m at home. For me preparing nibbles for everyone to enjoy is like getting dressed up to go out. The best bit in my view.

I always start with a basic dip. Like a faithful old black dress, a basic dip can be dressed up to look fabulous. You can accessorise it with herbs, seeds and oils. You can match it up with different breads and give it different themes so no-one will ever know it’s all part of the master plan to keep things simple.

You can serve this Mediterranean style by pouring over a little olive oil, toasted sesame seeds and dried thyme or oregano and pair it with some toasted pitta bread.

Or go Mexican and serve with some Cumin and Smoked Paprika Potato Wedges. Chop the potatoes into wedges, toss in vegetable oil and then sprinkle over some salt, cumin powder and smoked paprika before baking in a 180C oven til brown. Add some chilli flakes and cumin to the dip too.

Bruschetta are a great platform for dips and layering flavours. I use sourdough toast. Butter is the first layer. Then on this version I’ve spread some sundried tomato paste. Then some cannellini bean dip and topped that with some rocket leaves and chopped tomatoes.

If you don’t fancy making these in advance, place the toasts on a platter with the dip and the other ingredients and then let your guests build them as they want to eat them. I find a few other ingredients from the shelves creep into their accessorising - all part and parcel of a homely night in with family and friends!

Lagane e Fagioli – Pasta and Cannellini Beans

As promised, this week we will delve into the world of fresh pasta. There is nothing quite as gratifying as serving mouth-watering, home-made pasta to your friends and family. Join me in this adventure and, with practice, we will learn to make fresh pasta of all shapes and sizes along with sauces to complement each shape. Let’s get started.

Although it is a distant relative of lasagna, this week’s pasta, lagane (wide noodles), is a different animal altogether. Fresh Lagane is 3/4 – 1 inch wide, a bit wider than fettuccine but not as wide as lasagna. It is the perfect shape for absorbing flavors and wrapping around cannellini beans.

Signature elements of this Italian dish:

  • Subtle broth based sauce
  • Flat pasta that absorbs sauce and wraps around the beans from Campania region in southern Italy

For this recipe, I tried both durum wheat semolina and whole wheat for the Lagane. I actually preferred the whole wheat pasta because it had a nice nutty flavor. And it made me feel great for making such a healthy choice. There are so many variations for fresh pasta.

What exactly is Durum Wheat Semolina Flour?
Wheat has been around since agriculture began. It is cultivated for the grain (seed) and comes in many varieties. Common wheat, with which we are most familiar, is found in just about every wheat product out there: bread, baked goods, pancakes, cookies and so on. Durum wheatis another variety of wheat commonly used in Italian pastas. So my next question is, what is the difference between Durum wheat and Common wheat?

Stay with me here. First, we need some basic wheat anatomy. Because I am a visual learner, I need to see a diagram:
Each grain of wheat is made of 3 parts:
1. The outer covering of the grain is the bran (the fiber).
2. The germ is rich in protein and nutrients.
3. The endosperm is the inner core of mostly starch (sugars).

Common Wheat Flours:
Whole Wheat Flour
= made with all three parts of the grain intact: the bran, germ and endosperm. This is the healthiest flour because it contains the fiber, the protein and B vitamins and minerals. It is a whole food.
White Flour = made with only the endosperm. The bran and germ are discarded, so white flour is bereft of nutrients. White flour is mostly sugar (carbs). It is basically like eating a Snickers bar sandwich.

Durum Wheat Semolina flour = used for Italian pasta and is a different variety of wheat than that used for breads and cakes. In this variety of wheat, the endosperm is called semolina. It is different from Common wheat endosperm because it has protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Even though the bran and germ are removed to make this flour, it is far more nutritious than white Common flour.

Fresh Whole wheat on the left. Fresh Durum wheat semolina on the right.

Making the pasta:
– 1 1/3 cup durum wheat semolina or 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 2 extra large eggs + 1 egg yolk (if dough is too dry)
(What to do with those left over egg whites? Use them for Flourless Chocolate Italian Cookies.)

Dump flour onto a wood board and make a large well in the center of the flour. Crack two eggs into the center and stir with a fork.

As you are gently beating the eggs, use the fork to gradually scoop the flour into the center from the inner part of the well. As you continue to incorporate the flour, the dough will get thicker and thicker. Once you have mixed in most of the flour and there is no danger of the egg running over the wood board, use your bench cutter to scoop up all the flour into one pile.

Now it is time to get your hands into the process. Gather up the dough in your hands and begin to knead to a uniform consistency. Using the palm of your hand, knead and fold the dough for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour if the dough gets sticky. If the dough is too dry, add one egg yolk. After kneading for 5 minutes, it should be a soft, elastic dough.

If using the pasta machine:
Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes. (You can refrigerate it and use the next day, but let it reach room temperature before using.)

Rolling the dough on your pasta machine (an amazing invention!)
Unwrap dough and cut into four equal pieces. Keep the parts of the dough you are not using in the plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

Flatten out the dough slightly to begin feeding the dough through the pasta machine. Follow the directions for your pasta machine, and keep rolling the dough through the pasta machine until it is on the thinnest setting (1/16 inch). It should be thin enough that you can see through to the wood board underneath. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Drying the pasta
You can dry the pasta sheets on a pasta drying rack, but I like to hang them over the back of my kitchen chairs just like my Italian relatives used to do. Be sure to put a towel or cloth over the back of the chair first. Dry for 30 minutes. If your house is warm, the drying time might vary. You want to be able to roll up the sheets without them cracking. Note that the whole wheat pasta will take a bit longer to dry.

Cutting the pasta
Lay one of the pasta strips on a floured board. Roll the pasta sheet like you are rolling up a newspaper. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/2 inch strips. Unroll and fluff the strips, sprinkling with flour as you go to keep the pieces from sticking. (Watch the second part of the video below for a visual of this step.)
Use right away or refrigerate in plastic wrap. Remember that when you cook fresh pasta, it gets bigger and thicker, so the 1/2 inch strips will grow to 3/4 – 1 inch after cooking. Thus, Lagane!

The art of making pasta is not rocket science, but it does take a great deal of practice. Be easy on yourself. I had to make every mistake in the book, but I am beginning to feel more confident with the process. Hang in there, keep practicing. It is so worth it!!

If you want to roll the dough by hand, watch this video:

The Rolling Pin
The rolling pin you see in the video is not your grandmother’s rolling pin. In Italian it is a mattarello and is perfectly suited for rolling pasta dough into large sheets. The dimensions are 32 ” in length by 1 1/2 inches in diameter and is made of hard wood. You can purchase one online or you can to what I did… go to a lumberyard and have them cut a dowel to these specifications. It works beautifully and is much less expensive.

Now that the fresh Lagane is made, it is time to start the rest of the recipe!

Fresh Lagane and Cannellini Beans

This is a combo platter of Durum wheat and Whole wheat.

– 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove of garlic, peeled and smashed to release aroma
– 4 fresh Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced – (how to concasse)
– 5 – 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
– 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth, either homemade or store-bought
– 2 – 15.5 oz cans cannellini beans
– 6 leaves of fresh basil, cut in ribbons or 2 teaspoons of dried basil
– 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
– 3/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated
– salt
1. In a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron), gently saute olive oil and whole garlic clove for 1 minute until fragrant.
6. Add the fresh Roma tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
7. Remove the garlic and add the whole beans, vegetable broth, and sun-dried tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, cook fresh lagane in lightly salted boiling water and drain as soon they come to the surface, about 4 minutes. Drain pasta, add to the bean mixture, and stir gently for 1 -2 minutes while the pasta soaks up the sauce. Add the basil and stir.
9. Remove from heat. Spoon onto a serving platter. Top with chopped parsley and freshly grated percorino cheese.
Serve with a lovely winter salad:

Buon appetito!

If you are a gluten-free pasta addict, try this gnocchi recipe. Why can’t breakfast include pasta? This dish uses eggs, potatoes, and chunky tomato sauce.

These soft and light-as-clouds gnocchi are a delicious dish to wake up to. Prepare your own sauce or rely on your favorite jar to make this a breakfast-ready dish.

Cannellini Bowtie Pasta Salad

A few weeks ago I boasted how moderate the temps are here in San Diego. I spoke too soon. I should have known that would happen, right? The last few days have felt like our little piece of the map was picked up and squashed down somewhere in the midwest. Humidity does make things feel hotter. Even if the temps are still considered “moderate.”

Whew, glad that’s over. And my apologies for gloating. Seriously.

Hot, muggy weather calls for cool dinner salads. Yes, I know, there are people under your roof who balk at the idea of a salad being a meal. I know. But, I say do it anyway. Especially when you’re making this salad. This Cannellini Bowtie Pasta Salad is packed with protein, a few veggies for good measure, and a rocking vinaigrette packed with flavor.

Keep a bowl of this in the refrigerator for serving as a cold lunch, light dinner, or even for snacking. It travels super well so you can easily pack it for school, work, or picnics. My husband loves to have a cold salad like this to snack on when he comes home from work at 3pm each afternoon. It’s an ideal pick-me-up.

Best yet? The entire dish probably won’t cost more than $2.50 to make, and it can feed a lot of people. Imagine how much we spend on restaurant food when we can make something fancy sounding like Cannellini Bowtie Pasta Salad for just a few bucks at home!

How I make this cheap:

This Cannellini Bowtie Pasta Salad is pretty economical by virtue of its being a meatless pasta dish getting its complex carbohydrate protein whatchacallit from the beans.

Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe even more affordable:

    ! When I see a great price on pasta, I buy a lot of it. We almost always have a stockpile of noodles in the pantry. The same goes for canned beans and spices.
  • Take advantage of tomatoes and peppers in season. You’ll enjoy better flavor and cheaper prices making this dish in the summer and fall. Be sure to ask the neighbors if they’ve got too much produce on their hands. Maybe they’ll share. You can also grow your own.

Tools I use to make this recipe easy:

This is a pretty straight-forward dish. You don’t need any fancy equipment to cook pasta! However, having some good basic kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.

    – Mine is a Kitchenaid that I’ve had for 14 years! – We just bought this one this year to replace a broken plastic one. – I have this IKEA one and love it! – I have several: blue for veggies white for meats – some of my favorite knives

1. Grill (broil) the capsicums until the skin has blackened, then place in a sealed plastic bag to cool. Remove the skin, then cut into strips. Combine the garlic with the lemon zest and parsley.

2. Combine the cannellini or flageolet beans with half of the parsley mixture, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Place the rocket or salad leaves on a large plate and mix with the remaining lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.

3. Scatter the beans over the leaves, then lay the capsicum strips on top, along with the remaining parsley mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately as a starter, a light meal, or to accompany grilled (broiled) meat or fish.

The light lunch: Cannellini bean, tuna, red onion and parsley salad

A great combination and favourite spring and summer lunch. You can also add fennel, celery, watercress or rocket.

You can vary this salad by adding fennel, celery, watercress or rocket. Photograph: Helen Cathcart/The Guardian

Serves 4
1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
400g cooked cannellini beans
A tin of tuna, drained and flaked
A small handful of parsley, chopped
A handful of capers, drained
A pinch of salt
A splash of extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered (optional)

1 If you find the flavour of raw onion too strong, soak the slices in a bowl of cold water with 2 tbsp wine vinegar for 15 minutes beforehand.

2 Put the beans, red onion, flaked tuna, chopped parsley, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl, toss gently, taste and adjust seasoning .

3 Top with quarters of hard-boiled egg, if you like.

Rachel Roddy is a food blogger based in Rome. Her first book, Five Quarters (Saltyard) is published in June. Follow her on Instagram @rachelaliceroddy

Watch the video: Lemony Spaghetti with Cannellini Beans, Arugula and Brown Butter Breadcrumbs