When you think of beans in world cuisine, Mexican food probably springs to mind. You might also think of all the great American recipes that call for beans of all colors and flavors. But did you know beans, also known as fagioli, are a staple of the Italian diet? In many Italian households, they set aside a day or two where their protein comes mainly from beans–not a bad idea! Beans can be found in soups and stews, like the famous pasta e fagioli, crostini spreads and, of course, in pasta.
In this dish, white beans add bulk and body to an incredibly simple yet flavorful dish.
This vegetarian (or vegan, if you omit the cheese) recipe is perfect for Meatless Mondays or any time you want a quick and delicious pasta meal. A whole head of broccoli adds fantastic color and nutrition to this dish, but the real secret ingredient is crushed red pepper flake. Combined with the bitter broccoli and the almost sweet garlic, it makes the whole dish sing. Do use fresh Italian parsley rather than dried; its vibrant green flavor adds so much to this dish.
Orecchiette are an Italian favorite pasta. Their name literally means “little ear,” and it’s easy to see why when looking at their shape. If you can’t find orecchiette at your supermarket, no worries. Use any shell-shaped pasta in its place.
Serve this up alongside a lightly dressed salad and a glass of crisp prosecco.