Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta
Turn humble pasta and beans gourmet by adding roasted vegetables, fresh mint and tangy, salty aged goat cheese. When making a pasta dish with beans, you can use some of the bean-cooking liquid to give the sauce silky body and help it cling to the pasta. If you’re using canned beans, use some of the pasta-cooking liquid or just water.
From EatingWell: September/October 2009
Yield: 4 servings, about 2 1/4 cups each
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
- 2 medium zucchini
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat penne or similar short pasta
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, plus 1/2 cup bean-cooking liquid, pasta-cooking liquid or water (see Tip)
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 3/4 cup crumbled hard, aged goat cheese, or fresh goat cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise and then slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Quarter zucchini lengthwise. Toss the fennel and zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until soft and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Add the vegetables, beans and bean-cooking liquid (or other liquid) to the pan with the garlic and place over medium-low heat. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the pan. Toss thoroughly and add tomatoes; toss until just warm. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese and mint. Season with pepper.
- Tip: How to Cook a Pot of Beans
- 1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours.
- 2. When you’re ready to cook the beans, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small chopped onion, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped celery stalk (optional). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup hot water. When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (Do not drain: beans are best stored in their cooking liquid and the liquid can be used in some recipes.)
- Makes about 6 cups.
Nutrition Per serving:
515 calories; 22 g fat (7 g sat, 11 g mono); 22 mg cholesterol; 63 g carbohydrates; 20 g protein; 12 g fiber; 350 mg sodium; 990 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (48% daily value), Calcium (34% dv), Folate & Potassium (28% dv), Iron (27% dv), Vitamin A (25% dv), Magnesium (17% dv).
3 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 3 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 1/2 medium fat meat, 2 fat