Saturday 19 May 2012

Pasta and White Bean Stew with Summer Vegetables

From Fields of Greens, Annie Somerville, Bantam Books, 1993.

With the cold weather on us it seemed appropriate to investigate a few more stews. Fields of Green generally satisfied with its recipes so this looked like one to try even though it had summer vegetables in it whereas we were now in autumn.

While the recipe called for cannellini beans to be cooked, I decided to use a can to save a little time. There were other ingredients that had to be cooked prior to adding to the stew though. Green beans were dropped into a pot of boiling salted water. They only needed a couple of minutes so that they remained a little crisp. They were scooped from the water and put aside. The pasta was then added to the boiling water. I used penne. This was cooked until almost al dente and strained, given a little olive oil to prevent sticking, and saved.

Some tomatoes were peeled and cut up. The recipe called for the seeds to be removed but I usually ignore this.

Preparation now done, the stew could be put together. A chopped onion was sautéed in the pot with a little salt, and some dried herbs: basil and oregano. When the onion had softened, some chopped garlic (a few cloves) was added with chopped red capsicum. These were sautéed a little longer and chopped pumpkin was added (about 2 cups). Again a little more sauté before the tomatoes were now popped in.

The cannellini beans went in also at this time. If they had been cooked by myself I should have kept some of the broth but since I had used a can I had to also add some stock at this time. The penne went in too and some chopped fresh basil. This was all cooked for about 20 minutes and the green beans were added long enough to heat through. It was then served with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.

The stew was just right for the cold night. The flavour mix was perfect and the cannellini beans and the penne made for a satisfyingly filling. There was some left and it was eaten the next day. By this time the penne had become totally soaked with the liquid and was totally soft. Somehow I enjoyed it more the next day when all the flavours had infused and matured.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

As some of these books may be out of print if anyone would like a particular recipe, email me ( and I’ll send an abbreviated version. Of course, the whole book would be better; it’s loaded with other goodies.

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