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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 01, 2008

Pasta with White Beans, Broccoli and Tomatoes

I made this up as I went along, based loosely on a few recipes I've seen for beans and pasta.  Here's what I did the first time.

I heated a generous amount of olive oil and added maybe 1/4 tsp or a little more of minced garlic (the kind from the jar), some kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper, along with about three taps of cayenne pepper.  I cut the little stem end off of 10 grape tomatoes, sliced them in half and added them to the pan.  When the skins on them began to loosen I removed them to a bowl, added a little more oil to the skillet and added a handful of small broccoli floret pieces to brown up a little bit.  NOTE:  Next time I'll put a lid on the skillet for a few minutes to steam the broccoli a little.  It needed to be just a little bit more tender.

I had some left-over cannellini beans and pureed about 1/2 a cup of them with my stick blender.  By then the tomatoes had cooled enough that I removed their skins and put them back in the skillet.  I added in about 1/4 cup of the puree.  NOTE:  The puree was really thick and when I make this again, I will use maybe two or three tablespoons of it diluted with water (or maybe white wine?).  On this first batch, once I had put it in the pan and saw how very thick it was, I added some pasta water, but I think it would work better to just start with a thinned down puree.

For the pasta, I used a nice organic spaghetti noodle I get at Target.  I think spaghetti handles the bulkiness of the broccoli and beans better than some of the finer pasta I frequently use.  After I drained it I added it to the pan with the beans, broccoli, etc., tossed it around a bit and served it out onto my hot plate.  I've not mentioned that in any of my recipes, but I'm really an advocate of heating the plates, bowls, whatever that you'll use to serve your hot foods.  I just stick mine in the microwave for about 1-1/2 minutes.

In spite of the couple of changes I'll make, this first attempt was very tasty and I will definitely be making it again.

Bon appetit!

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