Although I use canned beans for the convenience, especially in the summer months, the colder months motivate me to take the time and make them from scratch. Not only are they inexpensive but by soaking and cooking dried legumes, you have a tastier ingredient for your recipe. One of my favourite middle Eastern grocers, offers a wide variety of dried legumes "en vrac"( in large white bins), and I simply can't help loading up on his products when shopping in his store. I love the buttery mild flavours of white beans and often make a simple Tuscan bean dip but today I'll share my pasta and fagioli recipe with loads of yummy bacon running through it. We'll leave the soup version for another post. Again a simple last minute meal which is both healthy and satisfying served with Parmigiana Regianno cheese and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil. Canned beans are also perfect for the recipe.
3 cups cooked white kidney beans
250 grams (about 1/2 lb) pennette rigate (tiny ridged penne)
6 slices thick sliced smoked bacon (1" pieces)
1 large Mayan onion or other sweet onion sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
1/2 cup of white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmigiana Regianno cheese
6 cups fresh baby spinach
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water which has been salted. Cook for 9 minutes until "al dente" or per manufacturers directions. Drain the pasta. While boiling the pasta, start cooking the bacon by adding the oil to a large skillet and cooking until crisp. Add the onions and cook until they are caramalised and infused with the bacon flavours
Add the garlic about 3 minutes into the cooking process , and cook an additional 2 minutes.Pour in the wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Stir in the beans and add the broth. Allow to simmer for a few minutes to allow the sauce to reduce. Toss in the cooked pennette and a generous 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiana Regianno cheese.
Plate and grate extra cheese on the pasta. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil. Serves 4