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    Pasta & beans

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    Pasta & beans

    By Elly Curshen

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 60 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes 60 minutes 20 minutes

    Serves: 8 (easily halved or doubled)


    4 tbsp olive oil
    2 medium leeks, halved lengthways, washed and finely sliced
    3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
    2 celery sticks, finely chopped
    6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
    2 x 400g cans borlotti beans (undrained)
    2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
    2 bay leaves
    500g cherry tomatoes, halved
    250g cavatappi (macaroni or chifferi rigati would also work well)
    200g pack cavolo nero, tough stalks removed, leaves finely shredded
    Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to serve, plus 1-2 leftover rinds (optional, without this it’s a vegan recipe)
    ¼ x 25g pack flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
    1 unwaxed lemon, zest 


    1. Warm a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil, leeks, carrots, celery and garlic. Stir, add a large pinch of sea salt flakes and put the lid on. Leave the veg to sweat over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    2. Add the beans (along with all the liquid from the cans), the Italian seasoning, bay leaves, tomatoes and 1.5L boiling water to the saucepan. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid off.

    3. Add the pasta, cavolo nero and cheese rinds, if using. Simmer for 25 minutes more with the lid on. Add up to 1½ tsp sea salt flakes and 1 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste.

    4. You can serve the stew immediately (removing the rinds and bay), sprinkled with the parsley, lemon zest and cheese (if using), or leave to cool, cover and transfer to the fridge for up to 2 days. It will taste even better the next day. To reheat, gently simmer in a saucepan over a low heat until piping hot.  

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    To freezeDivide between 8 freezerproof containers and leave to cool. Label each portion and date, then freeze and use within 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then gently reheat in a saucepan over a low heat until piping hot before serving.

    Cook’s tip When I finish a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano I put the rind in a freezerproof container in the freezer and keep it for recipes like this. It imparts a great flavour. Just scoop it out and discard before serving.


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