RECIPE: Paccheri with Navy Beans and Arugula Pesto
This recipe comes from friends of the brand, chef Jay Wolman and his partner, photographer Lee Grove.
Paccheri with Navy Beans and Arugula Pesto
I absolutely am in love with the combination of ingredients in this dish. I love beans, I love big flat pastas, and I love pesto of any sort. I spent some time cooking at Romans in Brooklyn with my dear friend Frank who was the chef there at the time. Frank taught me some amazing ways to incorporate legumes into pasta dishes that really have stuck with me since. While we all know pesto as basil, Parmesan and pine nuts, there are so many great ways to use anything green in your fridge that is starting to look a little too sad for a crisp salad. I had a lot of arugula on hand, so I went that route. Good olive oil is the hero here, as you will use it in all steps to prepare this dish.
This recipe serves two, with plenty of beans and pesto leftover
- 2 cups white beans (navy or cannellini) soaked overnight
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 head of garlic, split down the middle
- glug of olive oil
- generous pinch of salt
- 2 large handfuls of arugula
- 1 cup Parmesan, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups of large flat noodles such as Paccheri
- salt for water
Begin by straining off the beans and getting them into a large pot, totally submerged in water. Add garlic, bay leaves, and a glug of olive oil. Think of a glug as a big enough our to make a sound or a splash. This will keep your beans oily, glossy, and prevent them from drying out. Bring to a soft simmer and cook for about an hour, skimming the top of the pot occasionally from any foam. Once cooked, remove from heat and reserve.
While your beans are cooking, this is a good time to make your pesto. I suggest using a food processor here for the best result. Combine all of the ingredients at once and pulse a few times. You'll have a beautiful green sauce in just minutes. I didn't add any nuts to this version, but they are always welcome. Pine nuts, almonds, and walnuts make great additions to most pestos.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, with enough salt in the water to taste like this ocean. Cook your pasta as suggested. Strain and reserve a splash of your hot pasta water.
In a saute pan, take a ladle of beans, 3 tbsp of pesto, and your pasta, stir together til the pesto is nicely coating all the beans and noodles. Serve immediately with a splash of olive oil over the top to bring it all home.