Penne Rigate con Borlotti e Pepe
Penne Rigate with Borlotti Beans and Peppers
These are probably the prettiest of all bean-pods... alas the beans inside are optically not so exciting... but nonetheless delicious! Borlotti's are wonderfully tasty, pale, almost white beans with a magenta "blush" to them- the exact opposite coloring of the pods exterior.
I couldn't resist these at the indoor market today... so along with some mild red pointed-peppers, some celery, garlic, spring onion and cream cheese, I put together this light but satisfying Summer dish- and I hope that you like it as much as I did!
The Borlotti's take between 30 and 45 minutes to cook- so of course they were the first thing that I started with. I boiled them in salted water with a bay leaf and a good pinch of cumin seeds... these give a good flavor and help make light of digesting the, ahem, beans. You know what I am talking about and you won't regret it later! ;-)
Whilst the beans were cooking, I cleaned and sliced the red pepper, discarding the seeds and cutting it into small strips. I also cut the celery into thin slices and after the beans had been boiling for 20 minutes, poured off the water, added fresh hot water and continued boiling along with the celery and the pasta. Then, 5 minutes later I added the red pepper and continued cooking for a further 3 minutes until the Penne were "al dente".
Add a good tablespoon of tomato paste to the middle of the pan and stir vigorously. Once it has spread nicely amongst the other ingredients, add the same amount of cream cheese or soft ricotta and turn down the heat. Grate generously with nutmeg and black pepper and stir well. Add a touch of olive oil and serve with some finely chopped leaves from the middle of the celery... these are tangy and intense and a great contrast to the earthy beans. A sprinkle of coarsely-ground black pepper was the finishing touch for me- you might like to add some grated Parmesan or salted Ricotta, but for me, the cream-cheese was plenty.
So you see... there's no need to be a fool- just make it a little differently for the Summer and you can still have your Pasta Fazool! In fact- I find it totally cool!