Pastas are great for the beginning cook to start building a culinary repertoire with as they are nutritious, can be wholly vegetarian, and easily incorporate seasonal vegetables, herbs, and legumes. Pasta dishes are also economical, and often require only two pots with which to make the entire meal. So, for all these reasons I offer you the simple, delicious dish, Pasta Toscana. I hope you try it and keep it in your culinary repertoire just because it tastes so good. Buon Appetito!
Level of difficulty: easy
450g. imported linguine or spaghetti
10 ozs. of canned white kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
1 medium bunch of kale; a lutein- rich leafy green, tasting somewhat like Swiss chard
3 sprigs each fresh rosemary and sage leaves finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 shallots finely diced
1 tsp. crushed chilies
4 strips smoked bacon, or 6 ozs. pancetta, excess fat trimmed
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. each: salt and pepper
Grated pecorino Romano to taste
Separate stems from kale leaves; chop stems finely and leaves coarsely.
In a large deep skillet sauté stems in a little water until tender, add kale leaves and cook until soft, remove from pan and reserve with cooking water in a bowl.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook until al dente (7 mins.). While past cooks, coarsely chop the bacon, heat 1 tbsp. oil in the skillet over med-high heat, add herbs, garlic, shallots chilies, bacon, sauté until bacon is brown and vegetables soft. Add beans and sautéed kale, reduce heat to low, add 1 tbsp. pasta water, season with salt and pepper, stir and cover loosely. Drain pasta, add to skillet off heat, toss to coat in sauce, adjust seasonings, drizzle with 1 tbsp. oil before serving and top with cheese.
Recipe and photograph contributed by Loretta White, a food columnist based-in Chester, Nova Scotia. To get more of Loretta's recipes visit Food for Thought at www.southshoreclipper.com
Complementary Wines: Bardolino, Chianti Classico, Cotes-du-Rhone, Montepulciano D'Abruzzo
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