Monday, February 6, 2012

Creamy Tuscan White Bean Pasta

Anything with the word Tuscan just sounds more fancy, doesn't it?  And you put it with food and it just ups the ante.  And "creamy" too.  I mean, anything sounds good when you put "creamy" before it.  "Creamy Tuscan" just oozes deliciousness from every syllable.   

My cousin Michelle sent me the link for this pasta dish.  She added the fire roasted tomatoes, which was a great addition.  So, I made it and it was so good!   And the smells while it was cooking were amazing!  My husband told me he knew it was going to be good just from the smell while it was cooking.

This dish is packed with veggies, so I am sure that cancels any calories you are ingesting for dinner, and that means dessert calories don't count either.   Yeah, I am sure there is some science behind it all. 

The beans hid out inside the hollows of the pasta, and added another element of creaminess to the dish.  My kids were picking them out and eating them, calling them cheese curls.   Not quite sure why.  My 2 year old was even snagging the beans from his brother's plate causing a fight to break out over dinner.  Yeah, that good.

adapted from: howsweeteats


  • 1 lb. cooked pasta (I used orecchiette)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped turkey bacon or pancetta
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach, torn
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained and diced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 drained can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 can artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 1 can (15 oz) 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup asiago cheese
  • 1/4 cup good Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste


Put some salted water on for the pasta to cook in.  In a large nonstick skillet, over med-high heat, place 1 TBSP olive oil.  Add the bacon (pancetta) and onion and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Scrape the onion mixture to the side of the pan, and add the butter and flour to the pan, stirring to make a roux.  Cook for a minute or two and add milk and evaporated milk.  Stir to make smooth and stir in onion mixture to the milk.  Cook, stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes, until begins to thicken. This will infuse the cream sauce with the onion and garlic flavor.  Add the cheeses and stir to mix.  Add in peppers, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, beans and spinach, and gently stir to mix. Reduce heat to low and stir every few minutes while you cook the pasta.   Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Drain pasta, reserving pasta water to thin sauce if needed.  Pour pasta into cream sauce and veggies.  Add the basil and stir to coat pasta well.  Top with more Parmesan.

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