It never occurred to me to combine pasta and beans until college. I was living in England my junior year and we had to make our own meals in a communal kitchen. A friend told me about a pasta dish her dad used to make all the time - spaghetti with red kidney beans, diced peppers, onions and olive oil. I think I might have added a chopped tomato but I can't be sure. It was delicious, which shocked me. I made it often since canned beans and pasta were cheap. I can't believe I've never blogged that one for you guys - I need to get on that ASAP.
Pasta with White Beans and Prosciutto was not new to me. In fact, I made a similar dish with sausage awhile back. I was intrigued by the changes that were made along the way and I had an already-chopped leek in the freezer, so I put this new version on the weekly menu.
I was not disappointed. I left out the prosciutto because it's so darn expensive (plus we prefer to eat it plain or with melon rather than mix it with other things), and also to make this more of a vegetarian meal. Baby Girl loved the sauce but wasn't a fan of the beans. Me, I could have eaten mostly beans and a little pasta. I love, love, love the creaminess of beans. This is a meal I'll be making often.
Pasta with White Beans
Modified from Good Thymes Good Food
1 lb. pasta, any type
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, white portion only, washed and cut into thin rounds
2 (15-oz.) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
A pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
Zest of 1 large lemon, plus a squeeze of juice
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large deep sided skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add leeks and sauté until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add in the beans, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and sauté 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer about 6 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat, add the cream cheese and lemon zest. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the cooked pasta to the pan containing bean mixture. Add in prosciutto, basil, and half of the parmesan and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately with remaining parmesan.