Friday, December 11, 2009

Cranberry Beans and Pasta

I've been on a kick of trying something new, almost every week. This week cranberry beans caught my attention. They sound so seasonal, I knew I had to try them. This recipe calls for dried cranberry beans, but any kind of dried bean will work. Do try to find beans that have been recently dried - like the ones that you find at your farmer's market. Dried beans keep easily for up to a year, and even longer. The older they are, the longer they take to cook.


1 cup dried cranberry beans
3 cups water
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbs chopped fresh sage
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole wheat shell pasta
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbs Parmesan cheese


Cover the cranberry beans with the water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, turn off the heat, cover the beans and let sit for 1 hour. Drain beans. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, sage, and parsley, cooking for an additional minute. Add the beans and the chicken stock and cook for about 20 minutes or until the beans are tender. Use a masher to mash about half of the beans, thickening them. Meanwhile, fill a separate saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente, firm to the touch, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and add to the beans. Add the remaining parsley, plus salt and pepper to taste. Dish up, sprinkling each serving with some of the Parmesan cheese. Stealthy Cooking Tip: Pasta, grains, beans, veggies, and seeds each contain incomplete proteins. But, mix them up together, and magic happens. The incomplete proteins work together to provide a complete protein, similar to what you'd find in meat. Many meatless mains combine pasta or rice with beans, giving you complete proteins. Dairy foods also contain complete proteins, so when you add cheese to your dish, you're eating all the protein that you need!

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