Pasta with White Beans is a perfect under 30 minute meal to throw together for company or if you are craving a scrumptious Italian meal. A satisfying pasta dish that is loaded with the flavors of bacon, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.
Ugly pasta alert my friends, but do not worry. What this pasta dish lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste and comfort. Serve it with some Homemade Garlic Bread and add in a side salad with a Simple Lemon Vinaigrette for a complete meal. Also, don’t forget an Italian dessert of either Italian Lemon Pound Cake or Sgroppino for over the top deliciousness.
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Pasta and Beans
When you need a last minute meal that has the health benefits of beans, this Tuscan style White Bean Pasta is the way to go. You can add grilled chicken strips and pack in more veggies to make it even more nutritious. However, I love it just as is.
- Pasta– Use your favorite pasta. However, bow tie pasta (seen in photo above), Cavatappi and Strozzapreti are all fun shapes.
- Pesto– I am in love with my Toasted Walnut Pesto but when time is short I use Costco’s pesto instead.
- Brown Onion– Also known as a yellow onion.
- Olive Oil (not pictured)- If using bacon, there is no need for olive oil. However, pancetta does not have as much fat as bacon so the extra oil is needed.
- Garlic Cloves– The pesto has fresh garlic in it but the additional garlic will make this pasta extra tasty.
- Bacon or Pancetta– Pancetta can be found in the speciality deli case in larger grocery stores.
- White Beans– Cannellini, baby lima, great northern or navy beans all work very well in this recipe. (Canned cannellini and baby lima beans are difficult to find at both grocery stores and on Amazon. Instead I use the dried version of cannellini and baby lima.)
- Frozen Peas– Straining the cooked pasta over the top of the peas is a incredibly fast way to prepare them.
- Artichoke Hearts– Make sure to buy artichoke hearts in brine rather than marinated variety.
- Sun-Dried Tomato Strips– Buying them in strip form will save a ton of time.
How to Make White Bean Pasta Recipe
- Cook pasta to al dente in boiling water following package directions. Meanwhile, cut bacon into strips.
- Heat a large skillet pan over medium heat and add bacon. Cook stirring occasionally until crisp and browned, about 7 minutes.
- Remove bacon with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels.
- Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease and add onion strips. Sauté over medium-high heat until slightly translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
- While onions are sautéing open and rinse a can of beans in a small mesh colander.
- Open, drain and cut artichoke hearts in half.
- Stir in crushed garlic to onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Strain cooked pasta over the top of frozen peas an let sit for a minute.
- Lower to a medium-low heat and add pesto.
- To the skillet pan add in beans, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and bacon.
- Toss in pasta, peas and reserved pasta water. Stir well.
- Serve and garnish with fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh basil, a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes (optional).
Traditional basil pesto is often what I use when making this White Bean Pasta. However, this pasta would taste just as amazing with a kale pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto or a Chimichurri Sauce. For all three of these options just replace in equal proportions for the basil pesto.
To pack in even more nutrition replace the peas with broccoli florets (place in a colander and pour cooked pasta over broccoli) and add in 8-9 ounces of fresh spinach to the sautéed onions before adding the garlic.
These two suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg of the fun variations that can be made. Feel free to experiment with sautéed eggplant, bell peppers, carrots, asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash.
Storage and Reheating Pasta with White Beans
This recipe does make a big batch of pasta. However, leftovers taste amazing and we often freeze them into individual portions for easy meals at a later date.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat individual portions for 1-2 minutes on power level 8.
Divide leftovers into glass freezer containers and freeze for up to 3 months. It is usually best to pull the pasta from the freezer and let defrost in the refrigerator a day before eating. To reheat, remove the lid from the container and reheat on power level 8 starting at 2 minutes. Add in extra time in 30 second increments.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
Pasta with White Beans
- 16 ounces pasta
- 8 ounces pancetta or bacon *cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil if using pancetta
- 1 large brown onion *about 2 cups cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic *from about 4 garlic cloves
- 15 ounces white beans *rinsed & drained, See Note #1 below
- 14 ounces can artichoke hearts *drained & cut in half, See Note #2 below
- 5-6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes strips
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 1 cup Toasted Walnut Pesto
- 1 cup reserved pasta water See Note #3 below
- Garnish with fresh grated parmesan
- Cook pasta to al dente in salted water, following instructions on package and making sure to reserve pasta water for sauce. Add frozen peas to colander & drain pasta over top of them for quick prep.
- Meanwhile, if using bacon cut into strips and fry in a large frying pan over medium heat until crispy, approximately 7 mins. (If using pancetta cook with same method but add 1 tbsp olive oil.)Once cooked remove with slotted spoon onto paper towels to absorb the extra drippings. Drain pan of all but 1 tbsp drippings.
- While the bacon and pasta are cooking drain and rinse cannellini beans- set aside. Measure and prepare all other veggies.
- With the reserved bacon drippings sauté onions over medium-high heat until slightly translucent- approximately 5-6 mins. Add fresh garlic the last 1-2 mins of cooking the onions. Lower to a medium-low heat and add pesto, beans, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and bacon. Stir gently. Add pasta, peas and reserved pasta water. Stir until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Garnish with fresh grated parmesan.
- Put water on to boil.
- Cook bacon.
- Sauté onion.
- Once water is boiling cook pasta.
- Follow through with remaining steps.