Pasta and beans, in a not ‘e fagoli’ way.

This little gem, while I will definitely be making it again, was a lesson in premade lunch. Or to say it better, make your damn lunch the night before when you originally had the thought to begin with and don’t wait until morning when it’s 19°F outside and there’s a draft coming through the flimsy window over your sink and you know you’re going to want something warm for lunch.

Okay. Deep breath. There we go.

Last night I had decided that I needed to do something with the remaining half-can of cannelinis that were about to go bad in my fridge. They had been starring as a protein in salads lately, but salad isn’t going to star in my food plan in the next few days – it’s too damn cold. So of course, pasta came to mind. And pasta + white beans = …pasta and beans? That’s pretty much the conclusion I came to. I figured I’d come up with something eventually before I went to bed, I’d eat some for supper and have leftovers for lunch. Unfortunately (not at the time), I got the invitation to the future in-laws for supper and NCIS (which turned out not to be a new ep, but I still hadn’t seen it), so I went there instead. I got home late, dumped clean clothes in a pile off the bed, jumped in the shower and went to sleep. Which left me with no readymade lunch for today – so I made it literally rightbeforeIleftthehouse. And for a rush job, it turned out pretty damned tasty! Points for me.

Recipe and the rest of the post behind the cut…

Cold Weather Beige Pasta

**an original recipe

ingredients:

whole wheat rotini (or whatever short pasta you prefer)

1 half-can cannelini (or white northern) beans, drained and rinsed

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4-1/2 c onion, chopped

extra virgin olive oil

salt+black pepper, to taste

spinach or other fresh green (optional)

directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, lightly oil and set aside. Sautè onions in 2-3 tbsp olive oil until lightly browned and translucent; add garlic and drained beans, salt and freshly ground pepper. Add more olive oil if necessary (the olive oil will be your sauce, so add or subtract as you like!) Sautè until garlic is fragrant and beans are soft and show signs of browning. Top pasta with beans, garlic and onion and stir to combine. Add lightly wilted or blanched spinach (or green of choice) for color and added flavor!

As you can see in the photo below, I added spinach to the at the last minute, thinking some steamed green would add color and a little extra nutrition. (Steamed when I warmed this up for lunch today, aren’t I clever?) I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into al-dente rotini, soft garlicky beans and onions, with some wilted spinach that added a little extra toothsome bite. It was delicious and I’m very happy with my thrown-together surprise.

There will be a few changes next time, of course. It’s obviously not a tried-and-true, die-hard-don’t-change recipe. Next time, I’ll add some fresh Parmesan (because everything’s better with Parm) and I’m thinking a few crispy bacon bits wouldn’t hurt, either. I’ll definitely add more pepper than I did this time around, maybe even some red pepper flakes, because the amount I added this time wasn’t enough spice for me. And maybe, just maybe, I might use dried beans rather than canned – I think they might hold up better to sautè than the canned ones did and make for a better textural experience.

But for just a quick lunch or supper without much forethought, just a grab-and-cook thing? This is awesome. Try it – you might love it.

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