Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Beans with Orechiette

Looking back over the last few weeks, it seems something I typically make at least weekly around our house has been missing. I know what it is--pasta! Give me a big bowl of any pasta swimming in Sunday sauce and I am one happy camper. But we also enjoy beans equally as much. Any kind of shell bean is just fine by me, and I try to incorporate them in many of my favorite dishes as possible.

It's been a very busy week for me and this is an easy dish to prepare when you're on a tight schedule. And even better, this is great comfort food perfect for a chilly evening meal. What I like the most about this sauce, is that it may be eaten straight up on it's own, or served over any smaller pasta of your choice. I oftentimes make extra just to tuck a few containers in the freezer for a quick lunch. It's a great winter dish that will warm you from the inside out.

Red Beans with Orrichette

1 1/2 cups red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
2 1/2 cups chopped celery
3 carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
fresh basil & rosemary, finely minced
4 TBLS fresh parsley
3 slices sweet prosciutto, diced
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 can whole plum tomatoes, chopped
sea salt & ground pepper to taste
12 oz orechiette pasta

In a large saucepan add enough olive oil to nearly cover the bottom. Saute the chopped onions, celery, and carrots over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, chile pepper flakes, herbs and prosciutto. Continue cooking until the prosciutto is just beginning to brown. Add the wine and cook a few minutes more. Pour in the tomatoes along with their juice and cook over medium heat 30 minutes.

In a blender puree the chickpeas and half of the kidney beans with just a bit of water or vegetable broth. Who can't use some added protein and extra fiber in their diets? Add this puree, along with the rest of the red beans to your stockpot. Season with sea salt and ground pepper along with 2 TBLS of fresh parsley cooking another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.

In another pot, cook your pasta al dente, and then drain. Ladle out the finished bean sauce in a serving bowl. Now layer the cooked pasta and top it off with a large ladle of more sauce. Garnish with the remaining parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve, piping hot. Enjoy!