TUSCAN WHITE BEAN PASTA

This Tuscan White Bean Pasta is definitely my type of recipe. It’s quick, uses a lot of fresh ingredients, is very filling, and flavorful. This pasta packs protein (white beans and parmesan), veggies (tomatoes and spinach), and carbohydrates (pasta), making it a great one-dish meal. You can serve it up as is for a lighter main dish, or add some sliced grilled chicken to make it a bit more filling.
If you can’t find fresh tomatoes and spinach for a good price, you can substitute one can of diced tomatoes and use frozen chopped spinach, although the texture of fresh spinach is far better for this recipe. Kale can also be substituted for the spinach, just make sure to tear it into very small pieces and it will take slightly more time to wilt down in the skillet.

TUSCAN WHITE BEAN PASTA

INGREDIENTS
  • 8 oz linguine or fettuccine ($0.63)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.13)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.24)
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes ($1.99)
  • 10 cranks freshly ground pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans ($0.69)
  • 4 oz baby spinach ($0.65)
  • 3 oz shredded parmesan ($1.89)


INSTRUCTIONS
  • Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat to bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • While you’re waiting for the water to boil, mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, or until it has softened and become very fragrant.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Sauté the tomatoes until the skins burst and the tomatoes begin to release their juices. It's important to not have the heat under the skillet too high here or the garlic may burn before the tomatoes break down. You want the garlic to brown and caramelize a bit, but not burn.
  • Once the tomatoes begin to break down, add the spinach and stir it into the tomatoes until it is about half way wilted. 
  • Rinse and drain the can of cannellini beans. Add the beans to the skillet and stir until they are heated through. The tomato juices will have created a thick sauce-like mixture on the bottom of the skillet at this point. Taste the mixture and add a bit more salt if needed. It should be slightly on the salty side in order to properly flavor the pasta.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet. Toss until the pasta is coated in the sticky sauce and everything is combined. Top with shredded parmesan, plus add a bit of Parmesan to the top of each bowl.