Pasta with Cannellini Beans, Bacon and Kale

Don’t you hate those days when you have no idea what to make for dinner? This is one of those meals I created out of what was in the pantry and fridge. You can substitute any number of things – like chickpeas and spinach, for example. I always try to have many kinds of beans on hand.
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Pasta with Cannellini Beans, Bacon and Kale

Serves 4

4 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
1 shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
A sprinkling of red chile flakes
1 lb pasta
1 can of cannelloni beans, rinsed
1 small bunch of kale, washed (no need to dry it)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well.

In a large, wide skillet, add the bacon and turn up the heat to medium/high. Allow the bacon to start to render and when it starts to color a little, add the shallot, garlic and the red chile flakes. Stir and cook for a minute. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.

Add the beans to the bacon/garlic mixture, add a pinch of salt and stir and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Then add the kale and a ladleful of the pasta cooking water. Cover for 15 seconds or so until the kale wilts.

Then, when the pasta is just al dente and not fully done, lift it into the pan with the bacon and beans. If the pan’s dry, add some more pasta cooking water and turn up the heat. Stir and cook until the pasta is totally coated and the liquid in the pan evaporates. Take off the heat and add another drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of red chile flakes and all of that cheese. Stir it through and taste.

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