Love and Simple Pasta [Rigatoni with Navy Beans, Asparagus and Basil/Mint/Lemon Oil]
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The excitement is starting to grow thick like molasses in the late summer air. Can you feel it?
Oh, maybe it’s only me who has a momentous occasion coming up. And on second thought, I think I might have mistaken the smell of excitement for love.
This Sunday my big sister, my only sister..and sibling for that matter, Laura is getting married! I can’t believe it’s here so soon. It felt like yesterday they were announcing their engagement, but here we are, tomorrow kicking things off with the Rehearsal Dinner. After 6pm tomorrow night, it will be a whirlwind of love and excitement and dancing and love and then more dancing and more love. Isn’t that the best? I sure think it’s pretty un-freaking-believable.
Before we get going tomorrow, I wanted to be sure to get just one more recipe for you lest I get sucked into a wedding-induced euphoria and never come back. Totally plausible.
As you may or may not have heard 300 times, I’m a really big fan of pasta. Especially when it’s a really simple bowl of pasta with a few good seasonal ingredients that really shine.
When I came home last week, claiming ‘there’s nothing to eat’ as is customary, I started stubbornly opening and closing cupboards until I had what maybe, sort of, might pass for a meal. What was eventually to be piled in a bowl in front of me was shockingly good. A dish I’m likely to make again and again. Especially when there’s nothing to eat. A bowl of perfectly simple ingredient. Aside from your big sister’s wedding, what could be better than that?
Rigatoni with Sliced Asparagus, Navy Beans and Mint/Basil/Lemon Oil
I love rigatoni in this dish because it’s ridges and big tubes catch a lot of he sauce as well as the asparagus and beans, but if you’re not a fan, please feel free to use a pasta of your choice.
Small bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 can navy or white beans, rinsed
1/3 cup loosely packed basil
1 cup loosely packed mint + extra leaves for garnish
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1/4-1/3 cup good quality olive oil, plus more for finishing
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water.
Slice asparagus as thinly as you can on a sharp angle until you have about 1 cup of pieces.
To make oil:
Add basil, mint, lemon zest + juice and olive oil to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. If it’s too dry, add more oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once pasta is cooked, add the asparagus and beans and toss to combine with pasta. Asparagus should brighten as it heats up. Add the oil a few tablespoons at a time until you have enough to coat the pasta. Add Parmesan and add pasta water a few tablespoons at a time until your sauce becomes slightly creamier.
Spoon into bowls and garnish with mint leaves and extra shaved Parmesan.
Off I got to celebrate the love of two wonderful people! Have a lovely long weekend, everyone!
She might kill me, but it’s too cute a photo not to post. HAPPY WEDDING TO MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER AND HER SOON TO BE HUSBAND, COREY!
[photo credit: Kronick Photography]