Pappardelle with Beef and White Beans ~ Fresh pappardelle pasta tossed with lean beef, white beans, and sauce for a dinner ready in 20 minutes. Last summer I had the privilege to travel to Italy with my cousins. Traveling is a passion of mine and save one trip to Canada and one day trip into Mexico, I’ve not done any international travel, crossing an ocean variety anyway.
When I landed in Rome, outside the signs not being in English, I felt like I was in any random airport I’d encounter stateside. Even once I left airport, got on the bus to be taken to the hotel, and traveled along the highway, it was exciting because I knew I was in Italy, and yes, it did have a different look than any Utah, California, or Texas town I have lived in. There was no enchantment that my fairy tale mind expected to find.
Turns out I needed some sleep, real food, and water.
Italy was every bit romantic, historic, and charismatic as I had dreamt it to be. Each place I visited was unique in the feelings I came away with. As a former educator and student of history, walking around Rome was like stepping back into history. Pisa was an interesting afternoon seeing that iconic tower. Lake Garda was serene.
Venice awoke my soul. Water has always been my happy place, so it wasn’t so surprising to be enraptured by the place. I expect to be greeted by Shylock or Portia around every corner. I was only able to spend a couple of days there, but I suspect I could spend a lifetime and never fully discover all its charm.
During my trip, I thought Venice was going to be the pinnacle for me. I had traveled to all the places I have just named and was headed to Florence. Honestly, at that point, I couldn’t give anything specific about Florence like I could most other large cities in Italy, expect maybe Michelangelo’s David. One friend remarked she like Florence the least of all her Italian stops. Florence and Tuscany, if I were to describe it in a single word, it would be home. It felt like home to me. The area was the height of culture, sophistication, adornment, history, simplicity, and beauty. From the moment I arrived until the moment I begrudgingly left, I was enamored with every single thing I came across. The people, the buildings, the landscape, the manhole covers (yes, they too were decorative), to the food.
Tuscany espouses quality and simplicity. Bertolli, a name I’m sure you all know, began in Tuscany and still holds the same Tuscan values. Simple yet quality ingredients are used in their sauces. Foods with few ingredients, lightly cooked, but loaded with flavor.
I kept this in mind while creating my recipe. I opened up my trip photos and transported myself back to the region. I wanted to create a dish similar to something I enjoyed while in Tuscany. I found just the image I was looking for. It was a simple dish of fresh pasta, ground beef and white beans in red sauce. I decided to use the Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic pasta sauce. Then Pappardelle with Beef and White Beans was born.
Pappardelle with Beef and White Beans
- 1 lb fresh pappardelle (dried works too)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; plus more for drizzle
- 1/4 cup chopped celery (~1 rib)
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1-15.5 oz can white beans; drained and rinsed
- 1-24 oz jar Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic sauce
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley or basil as garnish; optional
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt generously.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, taking note that fresh pasta cooks quicker than dried usually.
- While the water gets to boiling and as the pasta cooks, make the sauce.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and celery, cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper and cook until done, about 5-7 minutes.
- Drain off any rendered fat.
- Add the sauce to the pan and mix the meat in well.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss.
- Gently fold in the white beans, heat through, about 2 minutes.
- Garnish with the optional parsley or basil, serve, and enjoy.
The simplicity of this dinner yet the bold flavors are something I think Mr. Francesco Bertolli would be proud of. Pappardelle with Beef and White Beans is one of those meals that are gourmet-esque, budget-friendly, and made quickly, impressing your family and friends and giving you more quality time with them and not in the kitchen.