If you love pasta and fresh flavours, then this tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti is for you!
What I really love about this dish is that the sauce doesn’t need to be cooked at all! You peel and crush the tomatoes, stir in salt, oil and basil, then fold in the hot spaghetti and toss in the beans.
Then all that’s left to do is give the flavours a little time to mingle, and you have an ultra delicious, intensely fresh bowl of pasta that is equally delicious warm, room temp or chilled.
I’m featuring this recipe from Annabelle Randles aka The Flexitarian as part of my Food Stories series, where writers, friends, chefs and amateur cooks are welcomed onto the pages of A Mummy Too to share a recipe that is more than just food to them, it’s food with a story to tell.
So before we get cooking, let’s learn a little more about Annabelle and the story behind this incredible tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti dish.
“I am French with Sicilian heritage on my father side,” explains Annabelle. whose blog, The Flexitarian, has been her platform for sharing recipes since 2013.
“Growing up, we spent holidays in the South of France with one of my dad’s cousin. His mum, my great-aunt, was a truly talented cook. While living in Tunisia she learned to cook North African cuisine and pastries, so spending holidays with her, we were treated to a lot of Italian and North African dishes that she made from scratch.”
“Food has always been important in our family. I grew up surrounded
“My mum is also a very good cook and so is my godmother. In spite of working shifts, my mum would prepare all our meals from scratch. I come from a rural area, so most of our food would come from our own garden or local farmers.”
“To this day, my mother is the queen of batch cooking. She got up early on Sundays to not only make our Sunday lunch but also do the meal prep for the whole week. She
“My parents entertained family and friends very often and I have many memories of big and
All this sounds like an incredibly positive culinary start in life. So how has it influenced how Annabelle cooks today?
“Having been a committed carnivore most of my life, I started eating less meat around 5 years ago to reduce the environmental impacts of my diet. It has had such a positive impact on my health, that I decided to start a food blog, The Flexitarian, where I not only create many vegetarian and vegan recipes but also try to explain why we need to reduce the amount of meat, fish and dairy in our diets.”
“I always strive to cook local and seasonal food and we are lucky enough to have a community farm on our doorsteps with bountiful weekly vegetable and fruit bags.
With such a rich catalogue of incredible recipes to choose from, what made Annabelle choose this particular pasta dish to share with readers of A Mummy Too. Well, this is Food Stories so of course, it’s all about the memories.
“This recipe brings back some wonderful memories of my great-aunt Maria’s cooking. A typical Sicilian mama, she loved to nurture everyone through food.”
“She was an excellent cook. Having lived in Italy and Tunisia, her repertoire of recipes would stretch from fresh pasta to couscous and Arabic sweets. She would cook everything from scratch, getting up early to gather ingredients from the local market. One look at the fish counter and she would know if the fish was not fresh and the fishmonger would hear about it. “
“Our family meals around her table would stretch from lunch to dinner often by simply shaking the tablecloth in between. They were flavoursome, delicious and very loud, just the way Italians do food. “
“She would wake up at dawn to make fresh pasta and select the juiciest tomatoes. Now, my mum makes it, I make it, my cousins make it.“
“My great-aunt is not around anymore but her food still lives through our family. While we all live in different countries now, we managed to spend a weekend all together a few years ago. When it came the time to decide what to make for dinner, we instantly agreed on this recipe.”
“I had wanted to add this recipe to the blog for a while and finally got around to it over the summer. There was no written version as everyone kind of makes it by memory. So it took a few phone calls to different family members to come up with this version.”
“Funnily, we all add our own twist. Mine is to add cannellini beans for added protein. My cousin adds pine nuts. My mum
Isn’t that utterly gorgeous? Thank you so much for sharing your memories, Annabelle.
How to make tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti
I reckon the only thing better than a really great pasta recipe steeped in family history is a recipe that offers all that AND lends well to tweaks, twists and additions.
So in that spirit (and because it was what I had in the cupboard), I’ve used butter beans rather than cannellini beans in my version of Annabelle’s recipe.
Here’s how to make this tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti.
- 800g (1.8 lbs) tomatoes
- 55g (1.9 oz) garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 handfuls of basil leaves, roughly chopped (+ extra to serve)
- 250g (8.8 oz) dried spaghetti
- 400g (14.1 oz) can butter beans, rinsed and drained
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside to cool.
When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Note: don’t skip peeling the tomatoes, or you will end up with a lot of skin in the sauce.
Dice the tomato flesh and place into a bowl with tomato seeds and juices.
Using a fork or a pestle, crush the tomatoes to a sauce. Make sure to leave some little chunks of flesh here and there so it is not completely liquid.
Add the garlic, salt, olive oil and the chopped basil.
Mix and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. When cooked, drain and add to the prepared tomato sauce straight away.
Add the butter beans.
Mix and leave to cool for 15 mins or more.
This gorgeous dish can be served slightly warm, cold or at room temperature sprinkled with some more chopped basil.
How will you serve your tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti?
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Tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti – great served cold!
- 800 g tomatoes
- 55 g garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 handfuls basil leaves roughly chopped (+ extra to serve)
- 250 g dried spaghetti
- 400 g can butter beans rinsed and drained
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside to cool.
- When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Note: don’t skip peeling the tomatoes, or you will end up with a lot of skin in the sauce.
- Dice the tomato flesh and place into a bowl with tomato seeds and juices.
- Using a fork or a pestle, crush the tomatoes to a sauce. Make sure to leave some little chunks of flesh here and there so it is not completely liquid.
- Add the garlic, salt, olive oil and the chopped basil.
- Mix and set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. When cooked, drain and add to the prepared tomato sauce straight away.
- Toss together.
- Add the butter beans.
- Mix and leave to cool for 15 mins or more.
- This gorgeous dish can be served slightly warm, cold or at room temperature sprinkled with some more chopped basil.
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