Friday, October 2, 2009

cold weather recipe - baked pasta e fagioli

i found this recipe for baked pasta e fagioli in good housekeeping (i have no recollection of why in the world i was reading it) last winter and both nick and i die for it. it makes for a fab meal now that the weather is turning chilly. the original recipe is meatless so i added chicken to give it a little more sustenance. i swear it's even more delicious as leftovers. oh, and the best part is that i get to use my le creuset french oven. obsessed.

shopping list:
  • 1 box mini penne or elbow pasta
  • 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes in puree
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed with press
  • 2 cans (15 to 19 ounces) navy or other small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes/bite sized pieces
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1 loaf crusty french bread
cooking instructions (i made a few tiny tweaks to the original recipe to save a step here and there):
  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees F. heat large covered saucepot of water to boiling over high heat. add pasta and cook 2 minutes less than label directs. drain pasta, return to saucepot.
  2. meanwhile, drain tomatoes, reserving puree. coarsely chop tomatoes.
  3. in 4-quart saucepan (or french oven), heat oil over medium heat until hot. add chicken cubes, onion and celery and cook 9 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. add garlic; cook 1 minute.
  4. stir in tomatoes with their puree, beans, broth, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; heat to boiling over high heat. reduce heat to medium; stir in spinach.
  5. add bean mixture and 1/4 cup romano to pasta in saucepot and toss until well mixed. if not already in french oven, transfer pasta mixture to 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. sprinkle with remaining romano. bake 30 minutes or until center is hot and top is golden.
serve hot with slices of rusty french bread.

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