Positano is a vertical village that tumbles down a cliff along the Amalfi Coast, just south of Naples, Italy. Along the coast, we ate lots of pasta that featured beans, which I never think of doing (until now). Italians like their pasta al dente, which means not overcooked – and tossed with a few ingredients, not drowning in sauce. Here's my version of the pasta we enjoyed in Italy.
1 lb. medium shell pasta
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Cook pasta until tender, but with a slight firmness to it.
Put large pot of water on to boil for pasta. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat a little olive oil and saute mushrooms until tender. Add garlic and toss for a minute. Stir in kidney beans and wine and let boil over medium heat until liquid is reduced by about a third. Stir in tomato paste and heat through.
Cook and drain pasta (do not rinse) and return it to the pot. Drizzle with a little olive oil (so it won't stick together) and toss. Add mushroom mixture and toss again.
Serving suggestion: Grate Parmesan cheese over just before serving. Goes well with a simple tomato salad with balsamic dressing.
Pasta tip: See if you can find imported Italian pasta that has been slowly dried in the sun. It has a lot of body to it.
P.S. Six percent of people test to see if their pasta is done by throwing it against a wall to see if it will stick.