3-Bean & Tomato Pasta

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This is one of the other side dishes I served this weekend. Probably not the ideal for warm weather, but I wanted a substantial carby side dish and I really hate cold pasta salad (not sure why). Also, this is a good side to serve when having vegetarian friends to a BBQ – it’s a nice substantial meal in and of itself. I used 3 kinds of beans: Kidney, chickpea, and cannelini, but you can use any number of combinations. My family calls this “pasta fagiole” which is essentially pasta with tomatoes and beans. Tonight I plan on cooking some chard leaves in a little vegetable broth and tossing the pasta in to reheat in order to add a little more punch to the recipe. Here is the original recipe:

1 pound short pasta – I used penne

2 cans plum tomatoes, crushed with your hands (including juice!)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 can cannelini beans, rinsed

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil (or 5-6 fresh leaves if you have them)

1 white onion, sliced

3-4 large garlic cloves, lightly smashed

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese – grate on top when you are ready to serve

Place the olive oil, onion and garlic in a pan on medium heat and cook the onion until it is softened (3-4 minutes). Add the 3 beans and stir to coat. Allow to cook for another minute and add the tomatoes and all their juices, the basil, parsley and a pinch of salt. Allow the sauce to simmer while the pasta cooks. I would allow this sauce to cook for a good 20-30 minutes. The longer it goes, the higher the likelihood that the beans will start to fall apart – while this adds a certain creamy texture, it’s not the most appetizing. I like to have the beans relatively intact when I am ready to serve.

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