Cajun Pasta with White Beans and Kale

Posted by Noelle on March 4th, 2012
Categories: Entrees, Pasta
Tags: ,

Mmmm pasta...I like mine with a little heat, especially on these cold winter days. I remember years and years ago, alright probably decades at this point, visiting relatives down on charming St. Simons Island, Georgia and enjoying a wonderful bowl of cajun pasta at a local southern style restaurant. I can still see the mix of palm and willow trees blowing in the coastal breeze as I sat out on the sunny deck to devour this spice kissed meal. It was the first time I had a non-traditional pasta and I was hooked. I still enjoy the classic italian marinara, the simplicity of an aglio e olio, or a hearty vegan bolognese...but I have learned that when beans, spices, leafy greens, and other veggies are invited to the party, pasta can take you to many other regions of this vast world and become a culinary cultural tour guide. From North Africa where Harissa, a Tunisian hot chili sauce, is an everyday condiment and happens to rock on pasta, to Mexico where pico de gallo and cilantro (also amazing on pasta, you get the idea) invites you to fiesta in the streets. This simple pasta dish pays homage to the great city of New Orleans and the soulful cajun influences that abound in it's cuisine. New Orleans also brings to mind images of romance... it is almost valentine's day after all. *psst* I know a great way to add a little spice to your love life, to get those romantic fires burning, to get so hot you have no choice but to throw your clothes off (ok maybe a little over the top)...make your sweety a big bowl of this pasta. No worries, you can thank me later...



While pasta is cooking, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until onions are just starting to get tender. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Next add kale and cajun seasoning, cook for 1-2 minutes more, stirring frequently. At this point add both cans of diced tomatoes (juice and all) and mix well. Bring to a boil, add beans, and stir occasionally until the sauce reduces by half, about 5-8 minutes. Make sure you use a wooden spoon or silicone spoonula to stir gently so you don't break up the beans too much. If your sauce over reduces you can add some of the cooking water from your pasta. Please taste at this point and add salt if needed, the cajun seasoning I use already has plenty of salt in it so therefore I add none. Reduce heat to low and add the drained pasta to the pan, tossing gently to evenly distribute the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes and transfer to a large serving platter. I like to use big salad tongs to serve this pasta and keep a spoon handy to scoop up any tomatoes or beans that try to hide at the bottom. Enjoy!