Post #405 Guess What’s For Dinner Tonight?

August 21, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #405 Guess What’s For Dinner Tonight?

Perusing the pantry, and I got choices.  What to make, what to make?  It’s gotta be Italian cuz guess what we got yesterday?

pasta roller

YES!!  I can start making homemade pasta again!  Dried pasta is good, and I like the great shapes it comes in.  But there’s not much better than fresh pasta.  It cooks up in seconds, well, maybe minutes, and the flavor is like the difference between mass produced bread and homemade bread, like grocery tomatoes and one picked ripe from the vine.  And I can control the ingredients.  It really isn’t all that hard.  It’s just unfamiliar at first.

So, okay, gotta be Italian.  I’ve got cans of tomatoes and I can make a quick and delicious marinara sauce, but what about something different?

Hmmm, I have two cans of cannellini beans.  And I have two pots of basil growing outside.  I have garlic.  I have lemon and lime.  I’ve got onions and garlic.  I’ve got some scallions.   I’ve got all kinds of herbs.  Yup, now I know what I’m going to make.

First, cannellini beans.  What the heck are those?  Sometimes they’re called white kidney beans and they’re a staple in Italian cooking.  They’re grown primarily in Central and Southern Italy, but can be found all over the world.  Sometimes they’re mistaken for Navy Beans, and there’s no harm no foul in that, but cannellini beans are closer to kidney beans than Navy beans.

Cannellini beans can be found in all kinds of recipes.  Sometimes they stand alone, just a bowlful of cooked beans with a little salt.  (I’ve heard that some parts of Italy eat them dried, not cooked, but I’ve never seen this, nor have I tried it.)  Most often, they’re found in soups or salads.  I make a seven bean soup (I’ll share the recipe soon) which has cannellini beans, among others.  Minestrone has cannellini beans as a staple, as well.  Cannellini are a main stay in salads, too.  They can be found in most of the tuna salads and chicken/fowl salads made in Italy.  They add important proteins and other nutrients.

One of the most important things about cannellini beans is they are easily digestible so they don’t normally have that dreaded side effect beans are so well known for.

So!  Back to dinner tonight.  Sorry, I don’t have any pictures of it, but since it’s going to be fresh made everything, I can’t make it in advance.  Here’s what I’ve decided to do.

I’m going to make fresh fettucine.  I’ve posted about that before.

pasta roller 2

I can’t wait to get started on that.  I’ve already thawed out a large chicken breast so I’m going to cut that in half lengthways and make two cutlets and grill them.  I’m also going to steam some broccoli to have on the side.  For the sauce, I’m going to sweat some onion and garlic in olive oil and add some basil at the end.  I’m going to take a can of cannellini beans and dump the whole thing, juice included, into the pan to heat and simmer.  While they’re heating, I’m going to mash them roughly with a fork, leaving about a quarter of them whole.  When the pasta is finished cooking, I’m going to move the pasta directly into the pan using a pair of tongs rather than draining it.  That will put the right amount of pasta water into the sauce, giving it a chance to thicken.  I’m going to toss the pasta in the sauce and let it simmer for just a couple of minutes before transferring it to a platter.  I’m going to sprinkle some freshly cracked black pepper over it and some fresh basil ribbons, and serve it with the broccoli and chicken.

Hope it’s all good.  Pretty sure it will be.



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