White bean spaghetti sauce

I thought, since this was lunch today, that I should pop the recipe up. This seductive, unctuous dish will make you happy. And in line with the budget we’re on for this month, note that it costs about 3.20CHF to make and goes a very long way indeed.

An amazing white bean spaghetti sauce

This starts out being white bean puree, Stephanie Alexander’s recipe, and ends up being something unexpected.

Ingredients

175g dried cannellini or haricot beans fast soaked: ie put in a saucepan of water, brought to the boil, vigorously boiled for a couple of minutes and then cover and turn off the heat to soak a couple of hours.
3 cups cold water
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt
1 teasp chopped garlic
1 teasp finely chopped rosemary
olive oil
three quarters of a cup of chicken stock
juice of half a lemon
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the beans in a large saucepan with the water and add tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. The beans should be covered with water for the first one and a half hours. When beans are tender, almost all the water should have been absorbed. Puree.

Saute garlic and rosemary in a little oil. Add puree and mix well. Pour in stock and stir well over heat until thoroughly absorbed. The puree should now be smooth, thick and shiny. Add the extra best olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

This freezes excellently. I make a double quantity and also use more rosemary than called for…as discussed elsewhere, can you have too much rosemary?

NEXT. So, what you can do with this is use it as an accompaniment for plain grilled meat/chicken and vegetables. You can also brush sourdough with oil, spread with the puree and put in the oven until the puree turns golden. You can simply put it warm on fresh bread and drizzle with best olive oil.

BUT. This is my favourite thing to do with it. It makes the most lovely spaghetti sauce.

Put in a separate pan to heat a portion of the puree, depending on how many people you are cooking for. When the spaghetti still has a little bite to it, fork it into the puree – I don’t strain it first, just straight from one saucepan to the other as I want a bit of the cooking water which stays with the spaghetti.

Mix the spaghetti and sauce thoroughly and add, again mixing thoroughly, the coarsely grated cheddar. Quantities are to taste.You now have a divinely cheesy, fabulous comfort food. Add absolute buckets of freshly ground black pepper.

Pardon me while I just sit with eyes closed, head in hands, contemplating this…

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