Creamy Spaghetti and Beans

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sounds gross, right? Beans and spaghetti? After watching Rachel Ray make it, I tried it last week, and it was actually delicious! Here is the link to the original recipe:,,FOOD_9936_72480,00.html

And I'll post it here, with my notes.

5 to 6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 pound chunk pancetta chopped into small dice (couldn't find a chunk of it, just some sliced like lunch meat at Wal-Mart, so I used that no problem)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound spaghetti (break it in half or smaller unless you have a huge pot the size of your whole stove)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into a small dice (In addition to the onion and carrot, I added some broccoli. Peas woulda been good too)
1 fresh bay leaf (LOL, I tried to use my dried crushed bay leaves, DON'T do that. It was awful)
5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme (Used dried with no problem)
1 (15-ounce) can Roman beans or small white beans (couldn't find Roman, used navy beans, but don't put the beans in till the very end)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmigiano reggiano my foot, just use parmasean)
A generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place the stock in a sauce pot and warm it over medium heat then reduce to simmer.
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil and the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pancetta to brown slightly. Next add the garlic and spaghetti and toast the noodles lightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions and carrots, bay and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Soften veggies a bit, 5 minutes. Add wine and allow it to be completely absorbed. Add beans (don't forget what I said - it's too early here!) then add a few ladles of stock and stir the pasta. Keep adding stock a few ladles at a time allowing liquids to be mostly absorbed before adding more, as if you were preparing a risotto. When liquids are absorbed and spaghetti is cooked to al dente, 12-15 minutes, stir in cheese. Adjust salt and pepper. Turn off heat and stir another minute. Remove the bay and thyme stems. Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with lots of parsley.

By the way, the pasta part of it took a lot longer than 12-15 minutes!

Weekend update

Friday was a big day for me. GRE day! I was pretty well prepared. Everyone says you can't learn a lifetime's worth of vocabulary in a short amount of time, so you should concentrate on the math instead. And I did, until the last couple days, then I switched to studying the "hit parade" - the list of obscure vocabulary words that commonly show up on the test.

I won't know the score of the writing part for a few weeks. I think I did pretty well, except on the Argument essay, you're supposed to critique an argument, not necessarily make an argument. I got a little carried away and might have argued a little too much. I made a last-30-seconds change that I think made it better, but what can I say, I'm very passionate about the prospect of robots replacing humans in factories. LOL

I got a 1340, which is great. Most grad schools require 1000 for admission. I got 740/800 on the math, and 600/800 on the verbal part. I am so stinkin' relieved, and I'm sure Tom is too. He said I need to change my to-do list to say, "Don't study for the GRE". Amen!

With that out of the way, I picked up Amanda to see Sex and the City on opening night! What can I say about the movie without ruining was really good! But it would've been very difficult to disappoint me, I think. I was just happy to see all the characters together again. I think it helps that we saw the movie in a sold out theater full of rabid fans. Everyone laughed, awwwwed, and gasped in unison. Every now and then, someone would gasp loudly, I guess thinking everyone else would, but no one else did. Haha!

We were supposed to go to Ra Sushi in Plano for a cosmopolitan. Amanda and I went over there, but couldn't find it, so we went back to our neck of the woods and had a beer at Bennigans before going home. Alas, it wasn't the SATC experience we were seeking, but it worked (and it was a lot cheaper, I'm sure). I was so tired when I got home! I had two headaches Friday - once after the GRE, and once after the movie. It was like all that tension/excitement relaxed into my head all at once, and there was so much that it hurt instead of felt better.

Today was a lot of cleaning. I also played in my garden for a minute. We waited too long to put cages on our tomatoes, then we went to Amarillo and they about tripled in size while we were away. Tom had to cut the cages open so we could wrap them around the big ol' plants. We have some goofy bugs in there, too. I'll go outside and take some pictures tomorrow since you probably haven't seen the garden yet.

Tomorrow we're planning to go check out Ray Roberts State Park, just to see if we like it. We have the state park pass, so we can get in "free". We're planning to camp there in August, after my crazy summer is over.

I'll leave you with some pictures of Sasha from our High Island trip. Goodnight!

Welcome to our blog!

Well, let's get real. This is MY (Amber) blog, but it's about us, Tom and Amber. It's for pictures, stories, and updates, because not everyone has Myspace, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get to benefit from my ramblings!

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(Edit: I just figured out how to get that picture up there, and now you'll have to look at our big ol' heads every time you come by!)

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