Monday, August 10, 2015

Rachael Ray -- Express Lane Meals: Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta) and Spinach with White Beans

Rachael Ray really confuses me, you guys.  She confuses me in the way that the epidemic of people who don't know the difference between you're and your confuses me, and how Donald Trump's popularity in the Republican nomination race confuses me.  Truly.  Madly.  Deeply.

Clearly, I've made many of her recipes before (check out the list at the bottom).  One of her cookbooks is special to me because my aunt bought it for me the Christmas she died, but for whatever reason, I keep racking up these books.  I don't pretend to understand it.  Please forgive me.

This particular recipe confuses me even though I'm obviously the person who picked it.  At the time I picked it, I thought, "Beans in pasta!  How strange!  How interesting!"  So I bought all the ingredients for it without reading through the recipe, and when I started to make it, I realized it wasn't beans in pasta, but truly beans with pasta.

Is it just me?  Is that super weird?

I made it anyway (since, truth be told, I was halfway through making it before I actually realized that the spinach/beans weren't mixed into the pasta.  Read your recipes, kids!), and it's weirdly good.  The flavors work, even though pasta with a side of beans is weird, y'all.

I did end up mixing it all together on my plate, and it was odd, but tasty.  Do whatever you like, but know before you start that the beans and the pasta are two separate, unrelated entities.  They're like you and that random hippie chick from SoCal that you found yourself rooming with freshman year.  Strange, but it unexpectedly works.

So what do you guys think?  Pasta with a side of beans:  weird or nah?

Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta) and Spinach with White Beans
Serves 4
From Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals:  a 30-Minute Cookbook


1 pound spaghetti
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
1 10-oz. box chopped frozen spinach
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14-oz. can white beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Cook pasta according to package directions.  You'll be saving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water for use later.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large pan over low heat.  Mix with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and the pepper.  Keep warm on low until the pasta is done.

When the pasta is ready, take the 1/4 cup cooking water out before draining, and add some water as needed to the butter mixture.  After you've drained the pasta, toss with the sauce.  Add the cheese little by little until it's incorporated into a creamy sauce.  Add more water if needed.  Season with pasta and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil. 

Defrost the spinach in the microwave for 6 minutes on high.  (Carefully!) wring out the water.  Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and the garlic to a small pan and heat over medium heat.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the beans.

Add the spinach to the pan and combine with the beans.  Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Serve spinach and beans alongside the pasta.  

Past Rachael Ray recipes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
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Two Years Ago:  No Post

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