I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner at an Italian restaurant last night, but sadly she got sick and had to bail. Perhaps the G*ds were looking down on me because I was stressing about WTH I was going to eat! After looking at the menu, I started wishing I had picked Japanese instead.
With Italian on the brain, I decided to cook up some pasta to satisfy the craving. I finally committed to buying some vegan cookbooks for inspiration.
1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson has lots of recipes (1,000 obviously) that have almost anything you could imagine including mac & cheese, fresh eggless pasta, lasagna, curries, carrot cake, cookies, coffee cakes, you name it!
After flipping through, I spotted Robin’s Penne with white beans, red chard, and grape tomatoes and thought MMMMmmmmm I can play around with that idea! Below is my version. It’s a very basic, easy to make, one-pot dish. You can customize by changing the vegetables, switching out the pasta with linguine, rigatoni or any other pasta, and by mixing in cheese if you’re not vegan. Next time I’m thinking rigatoni, eggplant, tomato and black olives. If I ate cheese I’d use ricotta instead of olives. YUM.
Spicy Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Cannelini Beans and Spinach
1 pack (12 oz) gluten-free spaghetti (or any pasta you have)
2 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or use a garlic press
2 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups ripe grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 (15.5 ounce) can cannelini beans
1 tsp chilli pepper flakes (or more/less to desired heat)*
Basil or parsley for garnish
1. Cover a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
2. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and red chili pepper flakes. Season to taste. Cook, stirring until tomatoes begin to soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the beans stirring for about 1 minute until warmed. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Taste and season if necessary. Keep on low heat stirring occasionally.
3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Drizzle with good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
4. Add a 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the bean/tomato/spinach sauce. Scrape the sucs off the bottom of the pan to get all the yummy garlic flavor into the sauce. Turn heat to medium for 1 minute just until the sauce thickens and becomes less watery and more “sauce-y”.There will not be much liquid so don’t worry, it’s not a super saucy dish. If you want a little more sauce you could reserve more pasta water and use the same method above, waiting until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
5. Pour the sauce over the pasta, garnish with chopped basil. (I only had parsley on hand so I used that instead, but basil would be ideal). If you’re not vegan, you can also garnish with ribbons or grated parmesan or pecorino and a few extra sprinkles of chilli pepper if desired.
Happy Veating, Ciao!
*”spicy” is very subjective so please be sure to taste along the way to see if you want to add more heat. if you’re sensitive to heat, you can replace chilli peppers with regular black pepper, or start with a very small amount of red chilli pepper (i.e. scant or 1/8 teaspoon) and work up from there. you can always add more but you can never take away what’s already done. I use the same philosophy when adding salt.
Adapted from 1,000 Vegan Recipes