Posted by: acooksca | 10/05/2011

Pasta with Beans, Tomatoes and Kale

Phipps fresh Madeira Cranberry beans

Many varieties of fresh beans are harvested in late summer and autumn. It is the season to find long fresh pods of unshelled beans in farmer’s markets or country vegetable stands. Fresh beans don’t need presoaking, they take a fraction of the cooking time of dried beans and the texture of fresh beans remains gently firm. Where dried beans add mass to soups and slow cooked dishes, fresh beans have the textural integrity to stand as individuals in salads and pastas.

1 pound fresh or dried runner, cannelini or other beans
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups packed coarsely shredded young kale (1 large bunch)
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes, drained, reserving the juice, and chopped
1 pound fusilli (corkscrew-shaped pasta)
Freshly grated Parmesan

If using dried beans, soak over night in enough cold water to cover by 2 inches.

In a large pot combine the beans with enough salted cold water to cover them by 2-inches and simmer covered until tender, about 15 minutes for fresh beans or 1 to 1-1/2 hours for dried. Drain the beans in a colander set over a bowl and reserve the cooking liquid.

In a large deep skillet cook the onion, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme and red pepper flakes in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the kale in batches, and cook until the kale is wilted. Add the wine and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.

In a blender or food processor purée 1-1/2 cups of the cooked beans with 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid. Add to the skillet with the remaining beans, tomatoes and the reserved tomato juice. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it is thickened slightly. Adjust for salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water cook the fusilli until it is al dente, drain it well. In a large bowl toss it with the sauce and the Parmesan.

 adapted from a recipe in: Gourmet, March 1991

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