I have for you today this delicious Pasta with Bean Ragout. With whole-wheat fettuccine. And two kinds of beans. And greens, and carrots, and tomatoes. Can it possibly get any better than that?
If you are looking for a weeknight dish that cooks up in a hurry and also makes a convenient brown bag lunch you can stop right now and put the pot on. I used two kinds of beans in this recipe– Great Northern Beans and some jewel-red kidney beans (rajma)– because I wanted their different, distinct flavors and textures and also all that great protein they bring along.
The greens were a bit of an afterthought, but an afterthought that worked. I had a big box of fresh, organic spring greens sitting in the refrigerator and begging to become anything but a salad (have I told you I’m not a big fan?) So into the pasta they went, right at the end of cooking, and wilted just enough to become perfectly tender.
This is, like most of my recipes, a very versatile one. You can substitute another kind of bean (black would be great, or pinto, or even chickpeas). And you can use all kinds of veggies– green peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and kale would all work perfectly.
The sauce is light and flavorful but robust enough to leave you licking the bowl after you’ve slurped up the last of the pasta. And the bean ragout is quite able to stand on its own as a separate dish, thank you, that you can soak up with some crusty wholegrain bread.
Here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!
- 1 16-oz package of fettuccine pasta. I cut up the fettuccine ribbons into 2-inch bits to make this an easier lunch to brown bag, but you can leave it whole if you'd rather.
- 1 cup of dried, mixed red kidney beans and Great Northern Beans or 3 cups of canned beans. (Use chickpeas, black beans or pinto beans for a variation)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled and then finely chopped
- 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes (feel free to sub with two fresh tomatoes)
- 5 cups of packed spring greens (use spinach or kale for a variation)
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup white wine (optional)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- If using dry beans, soak them in hot water for an hour or cold water overnight. Pressure cook or cook on stovetop until they are tender. If cooking on the stovetop, cover the beans with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 60-90 minutes or until tender. Keep an eye on the beans and add more water if the beans dry up during cooking.
- Cook the pasta per package directions in salted water.
- While the pasta cooks, heat half the olive oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the chopped onion, bay leaves, and some salt and saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Don't let them brown.
- Add the garlic and saute for a few seconds.
- Add the carrots and wine, if using, and saute for another five minutes.
- Add the beans and tomatoes and a cup of the beans' cooking liquid or water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the rosemary and stir it in.
- Add the cooked pasta and greens and mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Add some ground black pepper to taste and more salt, if needed.
- Serve hot.