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Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta

  • 40 m
  • 40 m
Vanessa Barrington
“Turn humble pasta and beans gourmet by adding roasted vegetables, fresh mint and tangy, salty aged goat cheese. When making a pasta dish with beans, you can use some of the bean-cooking liquid to give the sauce silky body and help it cling to the pasta. If you're using canned beans, use some of the pasta-cooking liquid or just water. ”

Ingredients

    • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
    • 2 medium zucchini
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat penne or similar short pasta
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, plus ½ cup bean-cooking liquid, pasta-cooking liquid or water (see Tip)
    • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
    • ¾ cup crumbled hard, aged goat cheese, or fresh goat cheese
    • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  • 1 Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • 2 Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise and then slice lengthwise into ½-inch-thick wedges. Quarter zucchini lengthwise. Toss the fennel and zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until soft and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
  • 3 Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
  • 4 Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  • 5 When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Add the vegetables, beans and bean-cooking liquid (or other liquid) to the pan with the garlic and place over medium-low heat. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the pan. Toss thoroughly and add tomatoes; toss until just warm. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese and mint. Season with pepper.
  • Tip: How to Cook a Pot of Beans
  • 1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours. 2. When you're ready to cook the beans, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small chopped onion, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped celery stalk (optional). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup hot water. When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1 to 1½ teaspoons salt. (Do not drain: beans are best stored in their cooking liquid and the li
  • Makes about 6 cups.
  • Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.
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