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White bean & broccoli pasta toss

April 15, 2009

A little over a year ago, I ate at a swanky restaurant downtown called Seven. The dish that jumped out at me, orecchiette with broccoli rabe and cannellini beans, was delicious— simple and elegant Tuscan ingredients kissed with garlic and olive oil. Just a couple months later, I found a strikingly similar recipe in EatingWell magazine. I replaced the broccoli rabe with regular broccoli and omitted the cheese, but changed little else. The result is a light and lovely restaurant-quality meal at home. The breadcrumb topping is optional, but I highly recommend including it; the delightful crunch is a great foil to the creamy beans.

For the pasta:
8 oz. whole wheat shells, orecchiette, or chiocciole
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1T all-purpose flour
2T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can navy/cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2T red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

For the breadcrumbs:
2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts trimmed
1T olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Tear the bread into pieces and pulse in a food processor into coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, toss the crumbs with the olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. Cook and stir the crumbs in a skillet over medium heat until golden and crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes, then set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli during the last 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the mixture, and dry out the pot. Look at that beautiful bright green broccoli!

Whisk the broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, until it thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the beans, vinegar, salt, and pepper…

…then add the pasta and broccoli. Cook and stir until the pasta is thoroughly coated and the mixture is heated through, about 1 minute. I love the way the beans nestle into the shells.

Remove from the heat, top with the toasted breadcrumbs, and serve immediately. I like to dust on a little nutritional yeast too, and feel free to drizzle on some extra olive oil as well. You can change up the main vegetable if you want (I bet this would be great with asparagus), or add extra veggies (like an onion or a couple shallots). For me, this pasta provides a warm and welcome segway into spring.

Yield: 4 servings. Per serving: 442 calories, 11.5g fat (1.6g sat), 72.2g carbs, 14g fiber, 19.3g protein.

If you like this, you might also like…
Spaghetti with raw tomato sauce
Tofu parmigiana alla marinara
Spaghetti with tomato and peas

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2009 4:45 pm

    That looks very tasty, perfect for lunches! I’ll make you a deal You make me a plate of that, and make some Tarka Dhal. I’m making that and home made roasted garlic hummus tonight.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    January 31, 2010 9:17 am

    I think I may cook this for dinner tonight! I actually did not know they had shell noodle wheat pasta.


  3. Anonymous permalink
    January 31, 2010 8:43 pm

    Amber, this is great. How long have you been posting recipes?

  4. Anonymous permalink
    February 7, 2010 9:59 am

    I just wanted to let you know that this is one of my new favorite meals!


  5. April 9, 2012 12:58 pm

    This looks yummy and is super simple…my kind of dish! Bought a huge bag of broccoli from Sam’s Club yesterday, so I have to make some things this week that can use it up. Husband will complain if he has to eat broccoli too many nights in a row, so thinking of making this today. I have some really good gluten free pasta, shells even, that will work. I know that you have gone g-free as of late, so if you haven’t already, give Tinkyada brown rice pasta a try sometimes. (I love it, no corn and other ‘iffy’ ingredients that most g-free processed foods have…usually just as bad as the wheat itself!) It really is good, has a great texture and can withstand quite a bit of cooking. Let’s just say it’s the first g-free pasta that I’ve managed NOT to turn into mush.

    • April 9, 2012 1:27 pm

      Thanks for the GF pasta tip! I don’t think I’ve tried that brand. As soon as I can eat grain products again, I’ll give it a shot.

      This is my best friend Rachel’s favorite way to eat broccoli! Even your hubby might like it. 😉

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