pasta

Black Bean Pasta Mediterranean Plate

This is simplicity at its best: seasoned black bean pasta (which happens to be low in carbohydrates and high in protein), lightly steamed kale, a chunky lemony artichoke tapenade, and gloriously sweet cherry tomatoes. It takes just minutes to prepare, and it is quite filling, which is really all you need when you're ravenous. And I was.

I'm always looking for alternatives to regular pasta. Although pasta is one of my favorite foods (actually, all food is my favorite!), I'm religious about upping the nutrition wherever I can. Black Bean pasta (Found here) is soy free, organic and made just with beans and water. How easy is that?   If you're looking for something silky smooth, this isn't it: black bean pasta is hearty, dark and rich has a naturally al dente taste, with a rustic bite.

The artichoke heart tapenade is surprisingly simple but complex in texture and flavor: hints of garlic, fresh lemon rind, and a creaminess that is easy to love.  

You can easily make this even more robust by adding in more mediterranean flavors: olives, sundried tomatoes, basil...feel free to play. 

This recipe may look like it has a lot of moving parts, but honestly it's quite easy if you time things right: Two pots on the stove (one for the pasta, the other for the kale) and make your tapenade at the same time. For me, it came together in about 15 minutes. 

Ingredients for pasta: 

1/2 package Black Bean Spaghetti Pasta, cooked according to package instructions. After draining, lightly season with salt and black pepper. 

 

Ingredients for artichoke hearts tapenade: 

1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained

1 can artichoke hearts seasoned in oil and spices, liquid drained by half

2 cloves garlic, microplaned

the rind of one lemon, microplaned (just the top, no white pith)

sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the artichoke hearts, garlic, lemon, a few pinches of ground black pepper, and sea salt. Pulse lightly so the texture remains chunky. Taste to check seasoning, and leave aside. 

 

Ingredients for Kale: 

2 cups kale, torn, and lightly steamed until bright green, about 1 minute

drizzle of olive oil

squeeze of lemon

sea salt

chili flakes (optional if you like the heat): I didn't add them but will next time.

Toss the kale with lemon and olive oil and season to taste with salt (and chili flakes). Leave aside.

 

Decoration:

1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes.  

 

Assembly:

Start by plating the pasta, then the kale, two scoops of the artichoke tapenade and some sliced cherry tomatoes on the side. Enjoy! And as pretty as it was all plated, when you get into it with your fork, feel free to make a mess of the whole thing.....like this....

 

 

 

Black Bean Pasta Puttanesca

I remember the first time I had puttanesca. I was lucky enough to grow up with an Italian best friend named Alessandra.  She was and still is one of the best cooks I know, and her family was practically my second family growing up. One day, a long time ago, she made me the fastest pasta I've ever had and nearly dropped to my knees, it was so good. She explained it as Puttanesca, and it described a quick sauce that the prostitutes would make when they were short on time. Probably the funniest thing I've ever hear, but a sauce I'd remember forever.

These days, there's not much pasta in my house, but if there is, it's usually black bean pasta, gluten free and low glycemic. I especially love this brand because it only contains black beans and water. Simple! You can also substitute zucchini noodles for a light meal. I had some olives, garlic, fresh tomatoes, basil, chili flakes, good olive oil, (and some kale for a boost) and I got to work. 

1 cup black bean pasta, cooked per package directions. 

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

few pinches sea salt

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup olives, chopped

chili flakes

1 handful kale, torn

Black pepper, to taste

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium and sauté the garlic with a bit of salt. Watch it closely so it doesn't burn. Add in the tomatoes, olives, and chili flakes. Cover and simmer a few minutes, until they get juicy and they soften a bit. Throw in the kale to wilt, then add in the pasta. Cover again and bring to a simmer, just to heat through. When done, season with black pepper, to taste and enjoy.