I would describe this as a big bowl of comfort but such descriptors are not really in season anymore (no matter what the weather would have us believe) and I don’t want to turn anyone off to the wonder that is pasta tossed with a hearty white bean sauce and topped with a garlic-rosemary oil drizzle before they’ve even given it a fair and valid chance.
So let’s see.
It’s also a bowl full of persuasion for those of us who are trying to convince our boyfriend to let us get HBO now that we are going to own a tv.
Not that I even want a tv seeing as how I have lived without one for the past eight years and it has been splendid.
But if I have to have one (and yes, one is being forced on me against my better judgment)…I might as well be able to watch Girls, Game of Thrones, and the trashiest of trashy movies all on a moment’s whim.
Not to mention all the Bravo my soul can take (Real Housewives, I’m talking to you).
And when I stop being able to ever get anything done. At least we’ll know who to blame.
Of course, the powers of persuasion inherent in this dish are not merely limited to cable tv channels.
In fact, they may or may not also be fairly adept at convincing your significant other that he should go back to IKEA by himself to procure all of your apartment furnishings, thereby sparing you from any further stress and anxiety.
Yeah, it’s that good.
Conclusion – this is some powerful stuff here. Use with caution.
Now, before we get to the recipe, I just want to take a few minutes to fill you in on my lunch with Lidia and what it was all about. (Disclosure – I was invited to this lunch and provided with the meal for free, although my thoughts and opinions are my own and I received no monetary compensation for this post.)
Lidia has been working with Whole Foods to launch her first line of ready-made meals! They will be sold exclusively at 25 locations in the Tri-State area with the hopes of expanding to the rest of the country in the future. All of the meals will be locally prepared and Lidia’s family will personally manage and oversee the production of her products, as it is very important to her that the food stands by her family philosophy of producing meals that are nutritionally and environmentally conscious while still being delicious.
Lidia’s Homestyle Meals will include Lasagna with Chicken Bolognese Sauce, Breaded Chicken Breast Parmigiana, Lemon Chicken, Turkey Meatballs, Baked Penne with Ricotta, and Manicotti. I got to taste the baked penne, manicotti, and a fish version of the lemon chicken and all of them were amazing. Truly, you couldn’t tell that they were any kind of pre-packaged or prepared food and they tasted as if they had been made fresh that day. These meals will be available in stores as of this past Saturday so if you happen upon them, I can personally attest that they are worth trying!
I also just have to say that Lidia was so so so sweet. I accidentally-on-purpose sat myself almost directly across from her so that we could actually interact and she was so easy to talk to. You can tell that her family is super important to her, as is maintaining the integrity of her food, so it’s no wonder that she has made so much effort into ensuring that each dish met the “Lidia standard”.
All in all, it was a GREAT experience and I am so grateful to Whole Foods for extending an invitation to me!
One year ago…White and Dark Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies
Two years ago…Halibut with Zucchini Salsa, Roasted Butternut Squash and Burnt Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses
Three years ago…Strawberry Yogurt Bread, Coconut Rice with Swiss Chard, String Beans, and Pistachios
Four years ago…Pork Stir Fry with Ginger and Hoisin Sauce, Coq au Vin
Pasta with White Beans, Kale and Garlic-Rosemary Oil
Serves 6, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 medium onion, cut into big chunks
- 1 medium carrot, cut into big chunks
- 6 garlic cloves, 4 whole and 2 finely chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- coarse or kosher salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 8 oz dried beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender
- 14 oz whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 bunch kale, leaves torn off of stems into strips
- 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the onion, carrot, 4 whole garlic cloves, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until veggies are in small, pieces. Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables to the pot and season generously with salt. Cook until the vegetables start to turn brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste and saute it with the veggies for another minute. Add a cup of water and let it simmer until it has almost all evaporated, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the beans and two cups of water to the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, adding in the kale just a few minutes before it is done cooking. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water.
- Transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture to the food processor and puree until smooth. Stir it back into the sauce to thicken it. Add the pasta, kale, and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to the pot with the sauce. Cook together, adding more pasta water as needed so that the sauce coats the pasta, about 1-2 minutes more.
- Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic and rosemary and cook until they have stopped sizzling. Strain out the garlic and rosemary and drizzle infused oil over the dishes of pasta before serving.