Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach

Fresh basil adorns a bowl of Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach

This recipe for Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach has many things going for it, including the fact that it’s easy to make. It’s simple, yet elegant, and perfect for a festive gathering or dinner for the family. The sauce may be rich, but it’s not overwhelming, and it works perfectly paired with hearty white beans, fresh spinach, and bits of roasted red pepper.

I was recently asked by retailer UncommonGoods to review an item from its wine glasses/gifts category (click here to see all there is to choose from). After doing a quick search on its site, I found the perfect glasses to fit my style: the Floral Wine Glasses. I was drawn to these glasses – small tumblers – because they reminded me of dinnertime growing up. During family dinners, my Italian family rarely drank from stemware, and usually poured homemade wine into short, juice-type glasses.

Set of six Floral Wine Glasses from UncommonGoods

The UncommonGoods’ Floral Wine Glasses are festive and unpretentious, decorated with simple flowers (a different design on each) with an Art Deco flair. The glasses come in a set of six, hold 6.5 ounces of your favorite wine, and are made in the USA. They arrived on my doorstep packaged in a cute cardboard carrier with a spot for each glass, and individually covered in protective bubble wrap.

These glasses were spot on sitting next to a bowl of Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach. For me, they added a time-honored tradition to serving a glass of wine with a simple and delicious meal: not overly ornate, but welcoming and relaxed.

UncommonGoods Floral Wine Glass with a bowl of Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach

UncommonGoods has something for everyone’s wine style, whether you’re looking for glasses, cool accessories, or a unique gift. If you’re not familiar with the company, you should check it out. With headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, it was founded in 1999. Half of the items sold by UncommonGoods are made by hand, and most of its products are made here in the USA. You’ll definitely find something special on its site.

Pasta meals are more than mere red sauce. Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach is the perfect example. No fuss, but definitely special.

Recipe for Creamy Pasta with White Beans and Spinach
Serves 4-6

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for which I was compensated. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

I’ve finally gotten around to posting a new recipe – one that combines my Italian heritage with my love of…avocados! My mom was recently a “guest” in my home for a few weeks, and for our final meal before she left, I wanted to make something quick (you have no idea how long it takes her to pack!), easy, and delicious.

Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes fits that bill, and I usually always have the ingredients on hand.

My mom’s luggage was heavy. A creamy pasta dish doesn’t have to be. This is a nice meal to enjoy when you crave a rich pasta dish, without the heaviness that can also accompany that sort of meal. It doesn’t weigh you down with heavy creams and butter, and it’s healthier than many Alfredo-type pasta recipes.

The healthy avocado in Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes provides the smooth, creamy texture that coats the pasta. Paired with the lemon, roasted garlic and tomatoes, this is fresh, healthy, and rich pasta dish.

Recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes
Serves 4

Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce

The bitter truth

When I was young my parents would fix and eat dandelion greens. As a kid I didn’t eat them, not much liking their bitter taste. I only thought twice about the fact we were having weeds for dinner when my friends were over and would question some of the meal choices going on in our kitchen. Growing up in a traditional Italian household does that sometimes. Instead of meals like casseroles or sloppy Joe’s (reserved for dinner every now-and-then), my family would serve things like octopus, dandelion greens, squash blossoms, and lentils. These things could seem strange to others.

I loved those healthy and tasty meals – with the exception of the dandelion greens! I’m happy to see many of the familiar dishes I ate growing up (and still do) are now recognized as being part of a healthy Mediterranean diet.

I must admit that I probably haven’t had dandelion greens since I was young, but I thought I’d give them a whirl, now that I’ve grown up. Since it’s springtime and dandelion greens are in full force, I decided to try bucatini with wilted dandelion greens and anchovy sauce.

Get weeding

The subject matter expert I contacted (my mom) for instructions on how to cook the greens said that the trick is to first blanch them before you sauté them. This helps remove the overwhelming bitterness of the greens.

Keep in mind that these greens will shrink a lot when you cook them, much like spinach does. At first I didn’t include enough of the greens in my dish, and had to adjust. The anchovy-garlic sauce in this pasta dish balances the slightly bitter greens. The garlic isn’t too strong since it’s roasted, and the anchovies add a nice saltiness.

You should give these weeds a try! The combination of flavors in bucatini with wilted dandelion greens and anchovy sauce is a delight!

Recipe for Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce
Serves 4

Swiss Chard and Tofu Stuffed Shells

Purchase without a purpose

Each time I’ve opened my refrigerator over the past few weeks I’ve come face to face with an unopened package of tofu. Each time I saw that package, it was as if the tofu were taunting me, knowing that before long, it would pass its expiration date. That’s what I get when I purchase without a purpose.

Ready for prime time

Not wanting to let the tofu slide by without being put to good use, I blended it up and used it as a filling to make Swiss chard and tofu stuffed shells. I’ve never used tofu in place of cheese before, and thought this was as good a time as any to try. Even as a cheese lover, I wasn’t skeptical of the results, and I had Swiss chard and pine nuts on hand and figured those would be excellent ingredients to add to the mix.

The blended tofu was basically the same consistency as a ricotta cheese and egg mixture used for standard stuffed shells recipes. I was confident that dropping the dairy from this dish wouldn’t be a big deal.

Take it from a cheese lover

If you love your cheese and feel like Swiss chard and tofu stuffed shells wouldn’t be quite right without it, you’d be wrong. But if you don’t believe me, go ahead and add some grated Parmesan over the tops of the shells during the final minutes of cooking. It’ll brown up nicely and add a touch of saltiness to your first few bites. If you use the right ingredients, this makes a great vegan dish. If you’re a Swiss chard fan, check out my recipe for Italian Potato Salad with Swiss Chard.

Recipe for Swiss Chard and Tofu Stuffed Shells
Serves 4

Cold Sesame-peanut Noodle Salad

Perfect for the summer months (or anytime, in my opinion), this recipe for Cold Sesame-peanut Noodle Salad really hits the spot.

One of the best parts abut this dish is that you can take your pick of veggies to add to it, or toss in tofu, chicken, or shrimp. This is an easy option for a hearty meal, and everyone will enjoy twirling or slurping Cold Sesame-peanut Noodle Salad!

This Asian-influenced dish can be made using plain old spaghetti noodles. Does that mean we can call this a fusion dish? Mmm…it’s a stretch, but if that’s how you’d like to think of it, go for it!

Recipe for Cold Sesame-peanut Noodle Salad:

Serves 6