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August 3, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Tuscan Pesto Pasta


I am labelling this dish Tuscan, solely on the thick nature of the sauce and the addition of cannellini beans, two aspects of Tuscan cuisine that I remember reading about somewhere. It is a great pasta for vegetarians because the beans add in some protein which really fills you up, and it makes a change from tomato-based sauces. That goes in line with the Tuscan theme, as there were no tomatoes in Italy before at least the 15th century. My flatmate came up with this, so many thanks to her. If you like you can use spinach from the freezer (that has been defrosted obviously). If you do this it is important to squeeze out any excess fluid from the spinach before you add it to the other ingredients.

500g penne pasta
1x can cannellini beans, drained from their gloop
Large bunch of spinach, washed and chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 tsp chilli from the jar
2 heaped tbsp pesto
¼ cup water
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Feta or parmesan cheese to taste

Place a large pot of water on to boil. Gently sauté the garlic and chilli in the olive oil, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add in the chopped spinach and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach is wilted. Season the spinach with salt and pepper and add in the pesto and beans to combine, along with the ¼ cup of water. Cook for a couple more minutes. Boil the pasta according to its packet instructions. When the pasta is done (and drained), toss with the spinach mixture, ensuring even distribution. Add in some feta or grate some parmesan over the top. If you don’t have either, then season well with salt and pepper. This feeds 3–4 hungry students and would be great taken as a leftover to uni for lunch the next day.


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