The resulting pasta dish used up what I had in the kitchen and actually tasted really good. Although this might not be a typical pasta dish, it combines ingredients that work great together in other dishes and uses flavors that compliment each other well. The dish was sweet, salty and peppery all at the same time. The olives mellow out when cooked and add a saltiness without overwhelming the dish. And the balsamic vinegar lends a sweetness that acts as a great counterpoint. If you don't like olives, as I know a lot of people who don't, you could easily leave them out and just go with the white beans and arugula. The beans add a hearty dose of fiber and protein while the wilted arugula gives a great peppery taste and acts as a salad all in the same dish. The only thing that really needs any cooking time is the shallot so the whole sauce is done in less time than it takes for a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta. Pasta dishes are a great way to use up leftovers so anytime you're looking for a quick meal, think about ingredients that go together in other dishes - like salads or dips - and mix them together with any type of pasta. Top with some Parmesan cheese and you're good to go, even if you couldn't make it off the couch to get to the grocery store.
White Bean, Arugula and Olive Pasta (serves 2)
- 8 oz pasta, any variety
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large shallot or small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
- 7-8 assorted olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 3-4 cups loosely packed arugula
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Saute onions, seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper, until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
Add minced garlic and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Cook for another minute or two.
Stir in olives, white beans and red pepper flakes; cook till warmed through.
Turn heat off and stir in arugula, remaining tablespoon vinegar and 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, to wilt arugula.
In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Add a bit more cooking liquid if too dry.
Serve pasta garnished with more Parmesan if desired.
For a printable recipe click here