Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Penne with Arugula, Garlic & Beans: Post for #macgrillgive

Wow! This was an email pitch I need to respond to! Romano's Macaroni Grill is working on a "One Million Meals" Campaign in partnership with the No Kid Hungry Campaign coordinated by Share our Strength. When I heard they'd donate $50 to this campaign for each blogger that shares a favorite Italian recipe as part of the campaign, I had to jump in. It's very troubling that 1 in 5 children in America face hunger issues. Now that need is troubling, but the good news is that people are working hard to address the problem. I've had the honor of meeting and hearing from Share Our Strength founder Bill Shore, and I know his group will put the money to good use. OK, please check out the campaign link to learn about ways you can help...now on to that recipe!

***re-share of recipe previously published here follows:
Arugula is a great thing to have on hand. It's got a nice peppery flavor, and is good raw or cooked in a number of different ways. Tonight I planned to use it in an Italian bread soup, but alas, realized I'd forgotten the crusty bread I needed. Not to fear, the arugula was quickly redeployed in this main dish pasta.

4 ozs arugula (I used baby arugula)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup feta cheese (you could also use pecorino romano)
12 ozs penne or other short pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
1 15 oz can red kidney beans (white would work too), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup red bell pepper (I used roasted)
handful of chopped olives (optional)
dash of red pepper flakes, salt to taste

Begin cooking the pasta according to package instructions. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium, then add garlic (if using raw red bell pepper, add it now too). Saute for about a minute, stir in half the arugula with another tbsp of olive oil. Let it start cooking down, 2 minutes or so, then add the rest of the arugula and the wine. Add the beans, roasted red bell pepper, salt and red pepper flakes. Just needs another two minutes or so, then set aside to toss with pasta when it's ready. When the pasta is cooked, drain and combine with the arugula mixture. Add the cheese and the extra tbsp of olive oil, and the olives if using. Serve and enjoy!

Wine Pairing: I served it with a Nebbiolo and that worked--a flavorful, medium bodied wine that match the arugula well. A white would certainly work here--I would go for a medium bodied Italian white. We just had a Lugana the other night--a white made from Trebbiano--that would fit the bill, but there's a lot to choose from in this department.