Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pasta and black beans

This has been some week in New York. I don't want to hear anybody telling me that global warming is a hoax cooked up by Al Gore! I have lived in New York my whole life. I remember really hot June days in my youth. I can probably count them on one hand. When I was in elementary school, we had to wear red ties during the month of June for the Sacred Heart. The nuns wore their heavy linen habits as always. Yeah, I remember days it was so hot you didn't want to move, but mostly June was beautiful. It was a time you were allowed to play board games in class, a time Sister would read aloud to us, or hit us fly balls in the school yard. Cool nights and warm days. Humidity was something you worried about in August. And winters? We didn't have "January thaws" back then grasshoppers! I tell you, the world is heating up! It's time for some flying saucer to land and make everything right again. "Klaatu barrada nikto!! (I made TW watch "The Day The Earth Stood Still" with me the other night and memorize Patricia Neal's line to the robot. She thinks I'm odd, but really, something short of a rapture event has to happen grasshoppers!) It's too damn hot.

So yesterday, being a bachelor night with two good ball games on the tube, I set out to  make myself something to eat. With the heat being as bad as it has been, I usually eat a good breakfast and skip lunch so I have an appetite for dinner. Before I started to cook, I went down to get the mail and received a welcome surprise. Chef Chuck from the blog ,Chef Chuck's Cucina wrote me last week and asked me if I wanted some garlic from his garden. Of course, I responded that I would be delighted to get some garlic (Hint: Grasshoppers who wish to send me stuff) and two different varieties arrived in my mail box. I used the "Russian garlic" in this recipe. Thank you so much, Chuck!

Here are my ingredients: pasta, sun dried tomatoes in olive oil,  one clove of Russian garlic, half an onion, black beans, pancetta and chopped sirloin. After I took the picture, I decided I needed a stalk of celery too.

The pancetta and chopped meat go into a hot pan, first. Add a little salt and cook till the beef is almost completely browned. The pasta water should be boiling and a serving of pasta should be added to the salted water.

The garlic goes in next for just a few seconds till the great smell reaches your nose, then lower the heat and add the aromatics (onions and celery). Add a little more salt and cook everything, stirring till the onion turns opaque and the celery softens. To help it, you may after letting it saute awhile, add a little boiling water from the pasta. (Notice, I always clear a spot in the pan for each raw addition.)

Now, it's time to add the sun dried tomatoes to the pan...

...followed closely by the black beans (which I purchased from Trader Joe's -their Cuban black beans).


Finally, a little more cooking water and the pasta get added and cooked for a final minute or so. Off the heat, I will add a drizzle of good olive oil a  little cilantro or parsley and a grating of Parmigiana Reggianno .This dish was quite good . The individual flavors were distinct but complimentary at the same time. The baseball games were less satisfying.


  1. Your pasta sounds other worldly. What is most impressive is that you made it when there was only you for dinner. Our weather is at the opposite extreme of yours. Spring has been colder and wetter than normal and our small farmers are pawing at the ground like angry bulls. Rain has caused problems with strawberry harvest and late hail has hurt many of the fruit trees. Not a great time to be a farmer or grower in the Williamette Valley. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. It was actually a creation of the robot, Mary. The weather is most bizarre!

  3. I love pasta! Your recipe looks hearty and satisfying. I like the addition of the black beans and the cheese you sprinkled on top.

  4. Almost a SouthWestern Pasta. Too bad the games weren't as good as the dinner! And russian garlic, what is that all about? Never heard that one before.

  5. Pasta and sun dried tomatoes...mmmm!!! I bet your tomatoe plants liked the sun. The weather has been quite odd here, fairly cool this week. I hope you get some of our cooler weather soon!

  6. I certainly hope you're right, Rachel!