Monday, February 8, 2010

Pasta with Cannelini Beans and Spinach

While my lack of blogging might indicate a lack of cooking, that's not necessarily so. I have recently purchased a couple of new cookbooks after not having bought any for quite some time. I am finding them inspirational. It's time to take my cooking up a notch and I'm confident these books can help me. I got another Moosewood: Cooking for Health. I've made several dishes from that so far. I also just received Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. I spent some time reading it yesterday, but haven't cooked anything from it yet. The author gives a lot of great tips and explanations and so far, I like what I see.
I've also had a fairly busy schedule. On Mondays I am taking a class in Harvard Square on writing and publishing childrens' books. On Tuesdays I do a cycling/ core strengthening class at the Training Room in Somerville. Wednesday nights is group trainer workout in Cathy and Mike's basement with potluck dinner after. Thursdays I usually work late and do a run. Then, we're back to the weekend. There hasn't been much time for experimenting in the kitchen, so I've been falling back on many of the usual suspects.
I'm pretty sure this dish could become a regular. It's one of those things you can make even if you haven't made it to the grocery store in a bit, because you'll have everything on hand in the pantry or freezer. You'll note that the recipe calls for a 1/4 tspn of salt. Due to a little mishap, I put about 6,ooo times that amount into the pan. As I was shaking a "bit" of salt in right at the end of cooking, the lid came flying off, dumping the entire contents of the container onto the pasta. After hearing some expletives emerge from the kitchen, Todd came running in thinking I had perhaps caught my hair on fire. When he saw what actually happened, he said, "I know you're upset, but you have to admit, it's pretty funny. We should take a picture of it." So we did and then we salvaged a portion of it. I guess if you spend enough time in the kitchen, you're going to have days like these. And, I now understand why on cooking shows the chefs pick the salt from a little bowl and sprinkle it on with their fingers. Lesson learned.

Pasta with Cannelini Beans and Spinach
10 oz frozen chopped spinach
8 oz of fusilli or rotini pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
pinch red chile pepper flakes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can cannelini beans
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn dried basil
1/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn ground pepper
a few tblspns feta, parmesan or asiago cheese

1. Cook the spinach. Heat it according to package directions, drain it and press out the excess water. (If using fresh, wilt in some boiling water, drain press excess water from it and chop it coarsely.)
2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Heat oil in a sautee pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and chili pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Add tomatoes, beans, and spices. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, until liquid is reduced. Add spinach and pasta. Let simmer for a couple more minutes. Serve in bowls and top with cheese.

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