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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From The Little Catholic Kitchen: A Quick & Fresh Recipe For Tomato Season

by Kathleen Blease

In The Little Catholic Kitchen, we use simple ingredients that are easy to find to make something special. To find more recipes, visit The Little Catholic Kitchen. Bless us, O Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ, Our Lord. Amen!

Cannelinni Beans with Fresh Basil Tomatoes Over Penne

Here's a fresh new recipe just right for tomato season. This is a quick sauce that's bursting with flavor, and it serves up lots of protein, thanks to the beans. The idea here is not to cook the tomatoes down, but rather just to warm them through, which keeps the sauce light and fresh, just right for a summer-time pasta dinner. It takes only about 10 minutes to prepare (once the pasta water is boiling), and it's surely economical and satisfying for families big and small. Omnivores and Vegans alike can dig in.

If you don't have fresh tomatoes, don't worry. Just use two cans of petite diced tomatoes. Fresh basil, oregano, and parsley, however, are a must. In Rome, you will find this dish swimming in olive oil. Here, I suggest only 1/3 cup, but you should feel free to use as much as you like. Use whatever pasta you have on hand--penne pasta, bow ties, twists, or even linguine all work well. By the way, Cannelinni beans are also called Great Northern Beans.

Serve this dish with a crusty bread and olives for a complete and hearty meal. To me, it has summertime flavors written all over it, and it's one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it!

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced or diced
4 large fresh ripe tomatoes, diced (or two 15-oz cans petite diced tomatoes, do not drain)
1 15-oz can cannelinni beans (or Great Northern Beans), drained and thoroughly rinsed
1/2-1 c. fresh basil, coarsely chopped (amount to taste)
1/4-1/2 c. fresh oregano, coarsely chopped (amount to taste)
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. dried penne pasta
1/4-1/3 c. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped (amount to taste), for serving
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Yields: 4 generous servings

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to manufacturer's directions. Meanwhile, begin sauce, which will require only a few minutes.

In a large saute pan, add olive oil and gently saute the diced garlic over medium heat. Be sure it doesn't burn. As soon as you can smell it cooking, add the beans and saute together for a few minutes. Add the basil and oregano and saute a minute more. Add the tomatoes and simmer for only a few more minutes, until the beans and tomatoes are just tender. This dish should not be cooked down; the beans and tomatoes should be just about tender but yet still a little firm. It should have a fresh appearance and a wonderful fragrance from the garlic and herbs. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Also add a little more olive oil to taste, if desired.

Drain the pasta and spoon into pasta bowls. Top the pasta with the cannellini beans and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with plenty of fresh parsley. The heat of the pasta and sauce will bring out the parsley's wonderful aroma. Provide Parmesan cheese at the table for serving.

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