Pasta in Tomato Sauce With White Beans and Spinach

"The other night I wanted pasta and beans, but not like a soup. I looked through some recipes and nothing was quite what I wanted -- so I threw this together, and it rocked! You can vary the herbs according to what you have handy, and use any type of white bean (navy, cannellini, great northern, etc). Any extra sauce can be kept in the fridge and reheated -- just be sure to add a little of the starchy pasta water if needed to thin it out, as it gets pretty thick and clumpy."
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  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When it's done, drain and reserve a little of the cooking water (1/2 cup or so). Return to the pot and keep warm while the sauce cooks.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and herbs to the pot and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat while the pasta cooks. Toward the end of the cooking time, add the spinach to the sauce and cook just until heated through.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix thoroughly, adding enough of the pasta water to make the sauce the consistency you like. Serve hot, garnished with the grated Parmesan.

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<p>Updated June 2011:</p> <p>I'm 32 and married to the absolute love of my life.&nbsp; We just bought our first real home together and we're settling in, trying to get things just the way we want them.&nbsp; Hopefully before too long we will be starting a family!&nbsp; After DH finishes college, that is...</p> <p>I'm a vegetarian, but DH loves meat, although he likes a lot of vegetarian food, too.&nbsp; I like to find meat recipes that I can modify to be veg so we can cook it together side by side -- in two separate pots.&nbsp; Now that we have a real house, DH is obsessed with grilling everything possible, so I'm expecting that to rub off on me as well.&nbsp; I'm excited about grilling fruit this summer.&nbsp; I also grow my own herbs and will be planting a vegatable garden next summer when we are settled in better.</p> <p>Besides that, I am an artist (but have to have a crappy day job to pay the bills, not even worth mentioning, LOL<img title=Tongue src=/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/img/smiley-tongue-out.gif border=0 alt=Tongue />)&nbsp; I really hope to have my art represented in galleries within a couple years or so, and maybe make most of my living that way.&nbsp; In the meantime, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A bit on how I rate recipes:</p> <p>5 stars:&nbsp; I made this more or less as written and loved it, will definitely make it again.&nbsp; I may have made some very minor changes like lowering the fat and/or sodium, subbing veg stock for chicken stock to make it vegetarian, increasing the amount of cayenne, etc.&nbsp; but nothing that would change the basic character of the recipe.</p> <p>4 stars:&nbsp; I enjoyed this a lot but had to make some big changes to accomodate our personal tastes.&nbsp; This would include completely changing the cooking method but using the same ingredients (like roasting veggies instead of boiling, etc.) or seriously modifying the amount of something (like if there is way too much or way too little liquid for my tastes, etc.)</p> <p>3 stars:&nbsp; This would be something that just didn't turn out and I don' t think it was my fault -- like if I suspect there is a typo in the ingredients or instructions, and I had to totally improvise in order to save it.</p> <p>I have never yet and will try not to rate anything less than 3 stars -- if I have serious trouble with a recipe, I would leave a comment without stars to explain why I had trouble.&nbsp; I can usually tell whether I will like a recipe before I make it, so I wouldn't want to ruin someone's ratings just because I didn't care for it.</p>
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