Makes 4 servings
Hands-on-time: 10 minutes
Total preparation time: 20 minutes
Mashing up white beans instantly produces a creamy pasta sauce – without cream – that’s capable of binding together all the ingredients in a dish. Here I’ve “beefed up” the sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and olives from the pantry. Of course, you could add any number of other handy pantry items – marinated artichoke hearts, canned tuna, frozen shrimp – or just toss in some leftover vegetables from the fridge.
1 pound linguini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (about 6 halves), sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (scant 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup white wine
One 19-ounce can white beans such as cannelini, navy, or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
One 14 or 14 1/2-ounce can vegetable or chicken broth, or 1 3/4 cups Chicken Stock (see Episode 103)
1/2 cup pitted, brine-cured olives such as kalamata, chopped
Freshly milled black pepper
1 1/2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (about 1/2 cup), optional
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the linguini in the boiling water until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid.
While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the white beans and broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Coarsely mash the sauce with a potato masher or fork.
Add some of the reserved cooking liquid to the sauce, as necessary, to reach a creamy consistency; add the olives and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the sauce with the linguini and serve. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired.