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Pasta with pureed bean sauce, roasted tomatoes and radicchio – Lowell Sun

Pasta with bean puree, roasted tomatoes and radicchio. Credit: Olivia Vanni

There’s more to Southern Italian cuisine than bold red sauces and Neapolitan pizza, and we’re going to prove it with this elegant legume dish that we encountered while staying in Puglia.

We were in Lecce, Italy, researching the art of cartapesta when we unexpectedly fell in love with a plate of pasta that was bathed in bean puree. It all happened during an al fresco lunch at a restaurant down the street from our apartment. We were served sheets of hand-cut pasta delicately dressed in a soft, creamy sauce that seemed to be a blend of beans and ample olive oil. Bright and bitter radicchio leaves were strewn throughout the strands of cooked dough and flakes of nutty Canestrato cheese were dusted over the whole dish.

It was refined peasant food and it was sheer perfection. We returned to that restaurant every day that we remained in the baroque city, eagerly digesting every morsel of Pugliese culinary culture we could. Back in the States, we’ve continued to embrace those Adriatic flavors and replicate our favorite dishes, including our beloved bean pasta, from our time there.

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved1 T. balsamic vinegar1 small onion, finely chopped1 carrot, finely chopped1 stalk of celery, finely chopped4 T. plus ½ c. of olive oil1 (14 oz.) can of cannellini beansJuice from half a lemon½ – 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes1 small head of radicchio, thinly sliced12 oz. dried pastaSalt…

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