We like pasta, a lot. In my journey to have us eating better as often as possible, I’ve been cutting pasta out left and right. Not because of gluten. There’s nothing wrong with gluten if you aren’t allergic to it. But rather because pasta is such a heavy, carb-y filler with a lot of calories for a small portion; so I’ve been trying to focus on more vegetables, legumes, leaner proteins, etc. The fellow loves pasta, so I try not to deprive him. Honestly though, it being the 52nd day of the year, I don’t think I’ve made any pasta at all in 2017. Until tonight.
This is a great combination of asparagus, leeks – which add amazing creaminess when cooked down – cannellini beans (any white bean will do), and a heavy helping of baby swiss cheese. For those of you that aren’t fans of swiss, any softer, melty white cheese will do. Try not to use pre-shredded cheese; it does not melt as nicely. Between the leeks and the cheese, you won’t miss this dish not having a sauce.
Asparagus, Leek, Cannellini Pasta
3 cups dry pasta
3 ounces baby swiss (or cheese of choice)
2 1/4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 1/2 cups asparagus, chopped and split longway
15 ounces cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large leek, thinly sliced
red pepper flakes, to taste
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste*
garlic powder, to taste
- In a medium or large pot over medium-high heat, combine the chicken or vegetable broth, asparagus, and leeks. Stir for a few minutes as the liquid just barely starts to get bubble.
- Add in the uncooked pasta.
- Cover the pot and let simmer for a few minutes. Stir the ingredients, making sure the pasta is getting adequate exposure to the broth. The pasta will never be fully submerged with the amount of liquid in the pot. This is okay.
- Once the pasta has reached a touch before your desired doneness, add in the cannellini beans, baby swiss, as well as the spices except the salt. Stir well.
- Let boil uncovered as you turn the ingredients, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. The cheese will start to stick to itself, so stir especially well to break it apart and disperse it as evenly as possible.
- The dish is done when all of the liquid has cooked out, the pasta is at your desired doneness, and the cheese is all melted. Give it a taste and add any more salt, if need be.
*Depending on what type of cheese you choose to add, if you use low-sodium broth, or low-sodium beans, they may provide enough saltiness without adding any additional. So be sure to taste test first.