I love pasta and am always on the lookout for new and delicious ways to prepare it. This recipe is the real deal and reminded me of many a pasta dish I enjoyed in Italy. If Joel liked greens more I would have added more kale and as it is he always wonders why I contaminate the pasta with all the beans and green stuff. If I were making for myself I would have added more kale or whatever greens you like. It’s not the most simple recipe as it has a few steps but thoroughly worth the effort involved. I loved the way the beans gave it so much flavor. I used Paccheri Pasta — I was able to pick up a homemade version of this pasta. It’s just a smooth, giant rigatoni with thinner walls . It soaked up the beans and broth ! I used a can of cannelinni beans but fava beans would be a nice change or chickpeas. I used Italian spicy sausage but you can try spicy lamb sausage as well or any sausage you would like.
Now if you leave out the sausage it can be made completely vegetarian!
1/2 cup olive oil
8 oz. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed — if you don’t like spicy use sweet
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (white kidney) rinsed and drained. You can use fava or chickpeas as well .
1/2 cup dry white wine if no wine in the house try chicken broth
12 oz. paccheri, rigatoni or any tubular pasta–try a homemade pasta from your local market
6 cups (lightly packed) torn escarole, baby kale, regular kale, Swiss chard leaves, regular kale even spinach will work–whatever you like
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-heat. Add sausage to pot and cook breaking up with a wooden spoon, stir occasionally until browned and cooked through, app. 10 mins. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a separate plate.
Add white beans to pot (drained and rinsed) and cook tossing occasionally, I mashed some beans with the back of a wooden spoon. So about 1/2 the beans mashed and the rest I left whole. Cook beans till slightly browned for about 5 minutes. Transfer 1/2 of this mixture to plate with sausage. Leave the other 1/2 in pot. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a boil and cook until liquid is almost gone–about 2 minutes. I sprinkled a little kosher salt in to the bean mixture at this point. You’ll taste again for salt .
Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, cook until very al dente, a few minutes less than you would normally cook. Don’t overcook!
I used a pasta insert to cook my pasta . I reserved a few cups of the cooking water –you’ll need it. Don’t throw it down the drain. Drain Pasta and then transfer pasta to pot with beans and add your greens and 1 cup of pasta water . Your heat should be on low under the pot just so it’s cooking without burning. Cook and stir often until greens are wilted , pasta is al dente and sauce is thickening up probably 5 minutes or so. Stir and Stir. Add another 1/4 cup of pasta water, then gradually add in 1/2 cup of grated cheese, tossing until melted and cheese dissolves into a beautiful glossy sauce. Thin out the sauce with more pasta water if too thick. Taste for salt and I put a little freshly ground black pepper in at this point.
Now add in reserved sausage and beans. Delicious pasta right here right now in your pot! and so professional looking and tasting.
Sprinkle with extra cheese if you’d like and crushed red pepper if you’d like.
Pasta was rich and tasty served hot off the stove.