Rachael Ray is one of today’s most popular cooking hosts that can whip up easy and simple recipes for the everyday kitchen.
It was a typical Saturday morning when my sister and I were watching Food Network and Rachel Ray’s 30-minute Meals show came on. The feature entree was a great comfort food dish, Creamy Spaghetti and Beans, that has become a staple in my culinary repertoire. After the show, we looked up the recipe immediately on the website and was able to make the dish with everything we had in our pantry, with a few modifications, but it still turned out delicious.
Creamy Spaghetti and Beans is just a great combination for that perfect storm so affectionately coined, “comfort food.” There’s pasta, creamy sauce, cheese, beans-all blended with great flavors to warm your soul. And there’s also some veggies so you don’t feel too bad about all those carbs. I’m guilty of eating the pasta straight from the piping hot pan!
You’ll also love this recipe because its so easy and versatile. Usually everyone always has a pack of pasta and a can of beans in their cupboard. Have fun with the recipe and add or cut out whatever you want. This dish is also great vegetarian if you cut out the pancetta and use vegetable stock. This is one of those great recipes that you can use as a base for your own creations.
Creamy Spaghetti and Beans Recipe from FoodNetwork.com
- 5 to 6 cups of chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 pound chunk pancetta chopped into small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, cut into a small dice
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 (15-ounce) can Roman beans or small white beans (recommended: Goya brand)
- Black pepper and salt
- 1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- A generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Place the stock in a sauce pot and warm it over medium heat then reduce to simmer.
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil and the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pancetta to brown slightly. Next add the garlic and spaghetti and toast the noodles lightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions and carrots, bay and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Soften veggies a bit, 5 minutes. Add wine and allow it to be completely absorbed. Add beans then add a few ladles of stock and stir the pasta. Keep adding stock a few ladles at a time allowing liquids to be mostly absorbed before adding more, as if you were preparing a risotto. When liquids are absorbed and spaghetti is cooked to al dente, 12-15 minutes, stir in cheese. Adjust salt and pepper. Turn off heat and stir another minute. Remove the bay and thyme stems. Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with lots of parsley.
If you can’t find pancetta or don’t want to fork out the big bucks for it, use bacon. I’ve also used Italian sausage, ground turkey, and even SPAM, all with fabulous results.
I use about a teaspoon of dried thyme instead of fresh thyme, just for convenience.
Change it up by using different types of pasta like penne, rigatoni, or bowtie. Be sure to adjust the broth quantity and cook time accordingly.
Sometimes I leave out the beans entirely if I don’t have any on hand at the moment. It still tastes great.
You can also change up the veggies with broccoli, cauliflower, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, etc. Be creative and go crazy!
This recipe also works well with other cheeses like Parmesan, cheddar, Mexican blend, etc.