Saturday, April 14, 2012
Mashed-bean pasta salad
Sometimes a new texture is enough to enliven an old standard. We recently ate at Tutta Bella pizzeria and ate a salad with mashed cannellini beans. This turns out to be a superb way to eat beans: You don't have to spear them or scoop them like roly-poly regular beans — yet they've still got the full flaky bean texture (unlike a hummus or bean dip where it's blended).
I decided to try it in a warm pasta salad one day as I was using up leftovers, and I've made it twice now with different green vegetables. It's super easy and quite filling.
Ingredients (makes two full-plate salads):
2 cups boxed penne pasta
poppyseed & carmelized onion dressing
1 can red kidney beans
3 cups peapods (or zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, etc.)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
salami shavings (optional)
1) In a pot, bring at least 1 quart water to boil on high heat. Add dry pasta, lower heat to medium, and set timer for 9 minutes.
2) Open your beans and pour off most of the salty liquid. Without rinsing the beans, pour the rest of the can's contents into a bowl. There should be some of the liquid left. Gently mash the beans with a fork to break the skins. (If you'd rather use fresh beans, you probably want some salt added.)
3) In a large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of butter until popping. Add the mushrooms and your green vegetable. Sprinkle in a little salt if you like. Cook until they just begin to get soft.
4) Drain your pasta well, and toss in the pot with some poppyseed & carmelized onion dressing. Stir in the shaved salami (if you're using it) so it gets slightly warm. Take your vegetables off the heat, scoot them to one side of the pan, and spread out the beans on the other side to warm them up just a bit.
5) Plate the pasta first, top with mashed beans in the center, then add the vegetables surrounding it. Enjoy!
Alternate, green salad option (recreated from Tutta Bella):
Mashed cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
Roasted red pepper strips
Sweet onion strips
Mashed kalamata olives
Crumbled feta cheese