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Pasta with Spinach, White Beans and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 4

The idea for this pasta recipe came from a magazine. As usual I made quite a few changes, most notably the tomatoes. That recipe used fresh. At the time, I had some home-dried tomatoes on hand that I wanted to try. This was my chance. I knew they would go with the spinach and beans, and they turned out to be a perfect match. It was this recipe that convinced me to use dried tomatoes more often. If you grow your own tomatoes and have a dehydrator, try drying some. When I do not have my own tomatoes, I use store-bought. Orecchiette means 'little ears', an appropriate name for its shape. If you cannot find them, use any short-cut pasta. Farfalle or bowties would work very well. This recipe is quick, other than soaking the tomatoes which be done ahead of time, easy, light and a healthy vegetarian main dish.


For the dried tomatoes, mix together the tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil and boiling water to cover. Let set until softened, about 1-1/2 hours, depending on tomatoes. Drain and finely chop the tomatoes, reserving the juices.

Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, make sauce. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to cover bottom. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, about one minute. Add the spinach, tomatoes, tomato juices, beans, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water. Add to the sauce and toss to combine, adding the reserved water as needed for moisture. Let set a few minutes, stirring several times, for flavors to blend. Serve immediately, passing cheese separately.