pasta and white beans with garlic rosemary oil

This is a pasta favorite of the hubs and I ever since I first made it a year ago. I had never had anything like this before and the flavors were simple yet out of this world. We both really enjoyed it and it has been a staple dish in our house since. The recipe starts out by making a simple mirepoix in the food processor and cooking it slowly to release all the flavors – yum! You then add the tomato paste and beans, cook it down some more and blend it again to desired consistency. The garlic rosemary oil adds a nice touch and flavor to the dish – but the hubs can eat the dish without. As usual, my comments are in red.

Pasta and White Beans with Garlic Rosemary Oil

(taken from Smitten Kitchen; click here for recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, cut into big chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, in big chunks
  • 1 celery stalk, in big chunks
  • 6 garlic cloves, 4 left whole, 2 finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • Coarse or kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste (I usually add more to taste)
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked, drained beans (save cooking liquid for water in recipe, if desired) or 2 15-ounce cans small white beans (such as Great Northern or Cannelini), rinsed
  • 1 pound short tube pasta (I usually use penne)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

Method:

  1. Pulse onion, carrot, celery, whole garlic cloves, parsley, and red pepper flakes (to taste) in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat and add vegetable mixture to pot. Season generously with salt. Cook, stirring from time to time, until vegetables take on a bit of color, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook it into the vegetables for another minute. Add 1 cup water or bean cooking liquid and use it to scrape up any bits stuck to the pot. Let simmer until liquid has almost disappeared, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add beans and 2 more cups of water (or bean cooking liquid) to the pot and simmer until the flavors meld, about another 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente, or still a little firm inside.
  6. Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water from your drained pasta.
  7. Transfer one cup of the bean mixture to your rinsed food processor and purée it until smooth, then stir it back into the sauce to thicken it. Add drained pasta and 1/2 cup cooking liquid to bean sauce and cook the mixture together, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until the sauce coats the pasta, about 1 to 2 more minutes.
  8. To serve: Heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a tiny saucepan over medium-low heat with garlic and rosemary, until sizzling stops. Divide pasta between serving bowls and drizzle garlic-rosemary oil over each.
  9. Serve immediately.
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