I can’t take all the credit for this recipe – it’s an adaptation of a recipe by Lidia Bastianich – but it’s one of my favorite fast (as in 20 minutes from start to finish!) one-dish weeknight meals and packs in beans, greens and grains. The dish reminds me of my law firm days when the earliest I ever got home from work was 8 PM (even later when I was a junior associate). I usually needed something quick and this was one of my go-to dishes.
Pasta con Pomodori Secchi, Fagioli e Spinaci
Adapted from Lidia’s Family Table
Serves 4 as a main course
Prepare the ingredients while bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water begins to boil, add the pasta and start to prepare the “condimento” as follows:
Place the olive oil, the tomato packing oil and the garlic (and red pepper flakes, if using) into a wide skillet and set over medium-high heat. Cook for about a minute, until the garlic is sizzling. Drop the sun-dried tomato strips into the pan and let them sizzle and toast for a minute or so. Ladle 1 cup of boiling pasta water into the skillet and stir well. Keep the liquid simmering so the tomatoes soften and cook for 2 minutes or so, until the liquid is reduced by half.
Stir in the canned beans, salt, and about 1½ more cups of pasta water. Bring the sauce to a rapid boil, stirring, and cook at an active simmer for 2 minutes. Drop the spinach leaves on top and let them steam until they wilt and add another cup of boiling pasta water, until the spinach is cooked, the beans are softened (they may even have disintegrated into the sauce – this will give it a creamy, luscious texture) and the sauce has reduced. When the pasta is almost al dente (about a minute less than the cooking time on the box), scoop it up with a spider or hand-held colander and into the skillet to finish cooking, adding a bit more pasta water (about ½ cup ; more if the sauce is dry). Stir to combine and allow to cook together for another minute. Turn off the heat and toss in the cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Buon appetito!