I've adapted a Rachael Ray recipe for Creamy Spaghetti and Beans and it is a terrific, quick weeknight dinner.  This is the sort of warm, soothing, carb-laden dish I crave at this time of year.  If you like bean soup or pasta fagioli, you'll really enjoy this dish.

I haven't seen many recipes like it, but I have heard that in some regions of Italy pasta is sometimes simmered and stirred in a small amount of broth.  The pasta sheds some of its starch into the broth, creating a creamy sauce.  Instead of boiling pasta in salted water it is cooked in a manner similar to risotto, including the addition of aromatics and the toasting of the pasta.  I break up the spaghetti because it is silly to try to toast foot-long spaghetti in a pan, let alone stir it in the broth.  My sister changes it up, using different vegetables and mushrooms, depending on the time of year.  I love pancetta, but it seems like this would be a great place to improvise with some leftovers.

Spaghetti in the Style of Risotto
5 to 6 cups chicken stock 
olive oil 
butter
1/4 pound pancetta chopped into small dice 
Garlic, minced
1 pound spaghetti, broken into 2-3 inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 bay leaf
thyme
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans 
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup grated Parmesan

Measure out the broth and warm it in the microwave.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, deep pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and brown slightly. Next add the garlic and spaghetti and toast the noodles lightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions and carrots, bay and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Soften veggies a bit. Add the wine and allow it to be completely absorbed. Add beans then add a few ladles of stock and stir the pasta. Keep adding stock a few ladles at a time allowing liquids to be mostly absorbed before adding more. When most of the liquids are absorbed and spaghetti is cooked to al dente, 12-15 minutes, stir in cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with parsley and a drizzle of good olive oil.
4/25/2024 07:59:17 am

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