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Today I was looking to eat something hearty and comforting. Inspired by the amazing pasta soups at the bagel shops and cafés around here, I was determined to bring together beans and pasta in a nutritious, soul-warming way.

I took cues from our CSA box with fresh leeks, spinach, carrot, and onion, then added in a couple of unconventional spices to make this a little special. Try this out for a weeknight dinner – and it makes for great leftovers for lunch too!

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 5-inch piece leek stem
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced (about 1 cup total)
  • 2 tsp rasam powder (if you can’t find this in the international aisle, a mildly spicy curry powder would also work)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 15-oz. can organic crushed tomato
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans
  • 1-2 cups orecchiette pasta, bowties would also work!
  • 1-2 handfuls fresh spinach, de-stemmed and loosely chopped
  • salt & freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put a soup pot on medium heat and pour in the oil. Dice the onion mince the garlic. Cut off the ends of the leek, we’ll only be using the white stem. Rinse it well, then mince. Wash & dice your carrot. Put the prepped ingredients into the pot. Let them cook down until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add in the spices, tomato, and balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans, then add them into the pot along with the pasta. Add in water to thin everything out and cover the rest of the ingredients, to your preference. The stew will thicken as everything cooks.
  4. Let cook until the pasta is soft but still has bite. I cooked mine for about an hour on low to get the best flavor, but you could easily turn up the heat to speed up the cooking time.
  5. About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the chopped spinach. Add salt & pepper to taste before serving. Enjoy!

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