Make Ahead

Pasta with Cannellini Beans, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Broccoli

February  6, 2015
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This is one of my favorite go-to meals for frenzied weeknights. It’s inspired by a Lidia Bastianich recipe from Lidia’s Family Table that I’ve tweaked over the years to include broccoli, anchovy, and lemon. The sauce cooks in the same amount of time it takes to boil your pasta, the entire dish only dirties two pans, and with the broccoli there’s no need to serve a vegetable on the side. Win-win-win! —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ziti, penne, or rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for finishing the dish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5 anchovy fillets, finely minced or mashed to a paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 jar (10-oz) of chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • Hot water from pasta-cooking pot
  • 1 can cannellini beans (16-oz or 19-oz, or about 2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets that will nestle up with the pasta (chopped broccoli rabe and kale work well, too)
  • Finely grated zest and juice from small lemon
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano and/or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Bring six quarts of generously salted water to a boil while prepping all of your sauce ingredients. When you add the pasta, start the sauce (see step 2). Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Add the broccoli to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Alternatively, you can blanch the broccoli first until desired tenderness, remove it from your pot with a spider or large slotted spoon and set aside, then cook the pasta.
  2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven (large enough to hold a pound of cooked pasta and sauce) over medium heat, combine olive oil (1/4 cup total), anchovy, and garlic slices. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic sizzles and the anchovy melts into the oil, stirring a few times.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes in a hot spot and toast for a few seconds, then stir to combine with the anchovy and garlic. Repeat with the sun-dried tomatoes (drained from the rest of their oil), adding them to a hot spot and letting them toast for another minute or so before stirring to combine.
  4. Ladle 1 cup of boiling pasta water into the skillet and stir well. Keep the liquid at an active simmer to soften the tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until the liquid has started to thicken.
  5. Stir in the cannellini beans, a pinch of salt, and another cup of boiling pasta water, and maintain an active simmer for another three or four minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Drain the pasta and broccoli (reserving a cup of cooking water) and add them to the sauce once it's done. Toss well and add more pasta water if needed. Off the heat, toss in the cheese. Season to taste with the lemon zest, juice and salt. Finish the pasta with a drizzle of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Starmade
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • cookinginvictoria
  • EmilyC

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

5 Reviews

Starmade March 2, 2018
This was quite tasty though I didn't have oil packed tomatoes or cannelini beans either as it turned out (used regular sun dried softened in a little boiling water and chick peas); forgot to add nuts but it didn't need anything else really. I did feel additional green stuff wouldn't hurt - maybe a couple handfuls spinach or similar amount of chopped parsley thrown in at the very end. I didn't have these on hand and we all liked it anyway, though might use extra green next time. Will certainly use this recipe again.
Starmade February 25, 2018
I often throw broccoli (or sometimes the other veg mentioned, or sometimes cauliflower and/or zucchini) in with the pasta so this appeals to my instinct for culinary streamlining; plus the sauce looks delicious. Nuts is an interesting idea for an addition. I'll be trying it soon.
LeBec F. March 16, 2015
hi em, this is really excellent! I will prob add a bit of cream and demi to this, but you know what you might like? Walnuts. great flavor and textural counterpoint to those flavors of yours!
cookinginvictoria February 9, 2015
Hi Emily, this (mostly) vegetarian pasta recipe looks delicious for those busy weekday nights when dinner needs to get on the table quickly. I love that it is inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks. There are so many gems in LFT. I use my copy so often that the binding has started to come apart. :)
EmilyC February 9, 2015
Thanks, civ! I love this cookbook too, especially the section on skillet sauces for everyday pastas. So many great, easy ideas. I've made this pasta countless times; it definitely saves us from disappointing take-out. It's my kids' favorite pasta -- well, second favorite if you count mac-and-cheese, but I'll take it! : )