Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meatless Monday success

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White Beans

After an epic fail last Monday - egg white omelet with turkey sausage and rotisserie chicken - I wanted to make sure I had a good meal planned for Meatless Monday. I could have gone with a simple pasta to use up some marinara in the fridge and pasta in the pantry. I also thought about trying my hand at Rajma, an Indian kidney bean curry that I tried the last time I hit the buffet line at Taj Mahal.

In the end, I met myself half-way, making something interesting and using items I, ummm, thought I had in the pantry - Ellie Krieger's Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White Beans. (I ended up having to buy white beans last minute, half way through cooking the dish.)

It was incredibly easy to make and very tasty, way tastier than I imagined. I give credit to the fantastic, full-flavored tomatoes that I picked up at the farmers market on Saturday. Who cares if they came in at $3.39 a pound?

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes Garlic and White Beans
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

4 large tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (15-ounce) can cannelini beans
1/2 pound Ronzoni Smart Taste penne pasta
1/4 cup or so vegetable stock
1/4 fresh basil leaves, torn
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Slice each tomato into 8 wedges and discard the seeds. (I did not discard the seeds because that's my favorite part.) Put the tomato wedges and garlic into a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a few turns of pepper. Roast in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Drain the beans into a large colander in the sink. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta into the colander containing the beans, so the hot pasta water will warm the beans. Return drained pasta and beans to the pasta pot.

When the tomatoes are done, pick out the garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic out of the skin into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Pour the roasted tomatoes into the pasta pot, add the garlic, vegetable broth and spinach. Cook over medium high heat until the spinach is hot and the stock reduces a bit. Add the basil and additional salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to combine. Serve topped with the Parmesan.

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