The combo of cooked beans and hearty greens is a pretty classic one in Italian home cooking. The beauty of it, really, is that you can easily make a super hearty dinner for four that is nutritionally balanced, ready in no time, and even light on the wallet. Note: Although you'd never know it from the depth of flavor, this recipe is also vegetarian. If you prefer a bit of meat with your dinner go ahead and crisp up some pancetta, bacon or their leaner Canadian cousin and add that to the mix too.
Recipe courtesy of Patrick Decker
Beans and Greens Spaghetti
Total:
20 min
Active:
10 min
Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Easy
Total:
20 min
Active:
10 min
Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch or small head of cooking greens (such as escarole, Swiss chard or kale), washed and roughly chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 1 (15- to 19-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon  
  • 1 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta to the water and cook to al dente according to package directions. Before draining the cooked pasta, reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking water from the pot. Drain the cooked pasta well and reserve. 

While the pasta is cooking, place a large high-sided skillet over moderate heat with the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet and cook until tender and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the greens and beans to the skillet along with the reserved 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water, season with salt and pepper and place a lid on the skillet. Cook the greens, stirring occasionally, until wilted and heated through, about 5 minutes.

When the pasta and greens are both ready, toss them together along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil. Serve the pasta garnished with shaved parmesan cheese, if desired.

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