There is no easier, more delicious way to enjoy fresh, ripe tomatoes than prepared simply and tossed with a healthy portion of pasta. The dilemma I always face, though, is just how much to cook the tomatoes: There is something absolutely incredible that happens when those delectable end of summer fruits sauté long enough to start to melt and mingle with the olive oil in the pan. For all the richness and complexity that is gained on the stovetop, though, the magical bright, tangy freshness unique to fresh-off-the-vine raw tomatoes vanishes the moment they are exposed to heat. Easy enough to throw together in the time it takes to boil water, this simple recipe showcases tomatoes in both their mouthwatering states. White beans add richness and heft, not to mention a generous helping of protein to leave even the most ravenous diner satisfied.
Easy Weeknight Dinner: Pasta with White Beans and Tomatoes Two Ways
- 4 servings spaghetti, linguini, or gluten free pasta of your choice
- At least 1/4 cup olive oil (Remember that this is the only fat in the dish, so no need to be stingy)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- At least 2 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or any juicy, very ripe variety, chopped)
- 1 can small white beans, rinsed and drained
- Salt to taste
- Set a large pot of salted water over high heat.
- While pasta water is coming to a boil, sauté garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add 3/4 of the tomatoes and increase heat. Season with a pinch of salt and sauté over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to soften and give off their liquid.
- Add drained beans. Lower heat and continue to cook, mashing some of the beans and tomatoes to thicken the sauce slightly. Don’t worry if there seems to be extra liquid in the pan as it will be soaked up by the noodles.
- When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package instructions, removing 1-2 minutes early so that it is still very al dente (slightly undercooked).
- Drain pasta and add to pan with tomatoes. Continue cooking over low heat for a few minutes, until excess liquid is absorbed and pasta is soft but toothsome.
- Remove from heat. Stir in remaining raw tomatoes and olive oil. Adjust salt to taste.