Classic bean, bacon combo joins pasta, cabbage in this quick dish

SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON POSTApril 2, 2014 

FOOD-NOURISH241

THE WASHINGTON POST

This recipe is a great example of how a little bit of bacon goes a long way. The bacon is a key seasoning ingredient, so choose a brand with a deep, smoky flavor.

PASTA WITH CANNELLINI BEANS, CABBAGE AND BACON

Prep: about 20 minutes; 4 servings

8 ounces dried pasta, preferably campanelle, shells or orecchiette

4 ounces apple wood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces

3/4 cup finely diced red onion

1 1/2 cups homemade or canned, no-salt cannellini beans (if using canned, drain and rinse them)

6 ounces Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch-by-1/2-inch strips

3/4 cup homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.

Add the bacon; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, until some of the bacon's fat is rendered. Add the onion; cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion softens and the bacon starts to brown around the edges.

Add the beans, cabbage and broth. Season lightly with salt and pepper, stirring to incorporate. Cover; once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.

Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta; add it to the bean and cabbage mixture, stirring to incorporate.

Serve warm, drizzled with a little oil, if desired.

Nutrition per serving: 360 calories, 15 g protein, 61 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

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