When we first started cooking, we wanted everything quick. The quicker the better, in our minds. We took lots of shortcuts to get to delicious food in the fastest way possible. Along we the way, we started to learn that while some shortcuts work, others sacrifice flavor in a big way. Sometimes, there actually is a reason to simmer a soup longer than 20 minutes, or to wait for dough to rest. We’ve learned that the hard way — but gained valuable lessons about what is worth the wait.
Now that we don’t mind spending a little extra time for the payoff in the end, quick meals that don’t sacrifice flavor are “it” for us. This pasta is one of those — zesty, tart lemon along with fresh baby arugula, white beans, and savory Pecorino cheese. It’s essential Italian: simple flavors at their finest, and can be pulled off in 30 minutes or less.
We were hooked the first time we made it with baby arugula from Full Hand Farm, and have made it again a few times for some meals with friends. Since it’s so quick and simple, we’ve added it to our list of recipes in the Healthy + Whole series too. It’s already become a “Go To” meal for us.
We’d love to hear from our readers — what are your favorite, simple “Go To” meals? Please let us know your ideas in the comments below, or using the Contact form. We’ll take our favorite reader ideas and turn them into a Healthy + Whole recipe!
- ¾ pound whole wheat or gluten-free rigatoni
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 15-ounce can cannellini beans
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup grated Pecorino (or Parmesan) cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, drain and rinse the cannellini beans and place them in a large bowl with 4 cups arugula. Add zest and juice of the lemon to the bowl, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss gently to combine all flavors.
- When pasta is done, drain it and add immediately to the large bowl with beans and arugula. Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¾ cup Pecorino cheese and stir to combine (the warm pasta will wilt the arugula and warm the beans).
- Serve immediately, topped with additional cheese, salt, pepper, olive oil and/or lemon zest if desired.