A simple but delicious Italian meal of pasta with tender broccolini and cannellini beans.
My daughter called me the other night from her home across the country. You’d never know we live so far from one another by listening to our phone conversations. They are pretty ordinary. This one was the “what did you have for dinner” variety.
I told her I whipped up a simple pasta dish and she wanted all the details. After hearing about it, she dubbed this meal the “ini dinner” due to the bucatini pasta, broccolini, and cannellini beans. She asked if I would add it here so she could have the recipe for herself.
So, here it is in all its quick and easy glory. There is something so simple and pure about enjoying a bowl of pasta. I know you’re going to love it.
Oh, and don’t forget to pair it with a martINI!
What is Broccolini?
What is broccolini and how is it different than broccoli? And what about broccoli rabe, what is that?? There are so many questions!
Standard broccoli has thick stems and a flowering head. It has a slightly bittersweet taste and can be cooked any number of ways or even served raw like in this Broccoli Bacon Salad.
Believe it or not, broccoli rabe isn’t even in the same veggie family as broccoli. It is in the turnip family. You may know it as “rapini” or “broccoli raab.” It has a strong, bitter taste to it throughout its stems and leaves and is great for sauteing, like in this Pasta with Rapini and Sausage dish.
This veggie is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale. It goes by many names. You may have seen it called “baby broccoli” or “broccoletti.” It features a longer stem than broccoli and generally smaller florets. It has a sweeter taste than broccoli.
Want to learn more? Here’s a quick masterclass in broccoli variations.
Pasta with Broccolini and Beans
This quick Italian dish comes together easily so it can be enjoyed even on your busiest of weeknights.
hot pepper spread
salt & pepper
Pasta: This is really up to you! I love it with the bucatini but have also enjoyed it with penne, ziti, and rigatoni.
Hot pepper spread: I use the Cento brand, but you can use any to your liking. I wouldn’t omit it, however, as it does add to the overall flavor.
Broccolini: If you don’t have this available, standard broccoli can be substituted.
Cannellini beans: I have had great success using garbanzo beans in this recipe, too.
How to Make the Recipe
It only takes about 20 minutes to pull this dish together.
Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package.
When it’s time to strain the pasta, reserve one cup of the pasta liquid and set it aside for a little later. Then return the pasta to the pot.
While the pasta is being cooked, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the broccolini, season with salt & pepper to taste, and saute for 5-7 minutes. Be sure to stir it occasionally, you don’t want it sticking to the pan.
Add 3 tbsp of water to the skillet and cover it for about 3 minutes to allow the broccolini to steam. This is an important step if you want it to be tender.
Add in the cannellini beans, minced garlic, hot pepper spread, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt & pepper, as desired. Cook this for about 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Cool Bean Cooking Tip: Always rinse your cannellini (or any) canned beans before use, unless the recipe says otherwise. This improves flavor and texture while reducing sodium.
Add the reserved pasta liquid to your skillet and stir to combine everything. Carefully pour the skillet of the broccolini and bean mixture into the pot of pasta. Mix together well.
Scoop the bucatini with broccolini and cannellini beans into serving bowls.
I recommend you serve this meal with a bit of grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top and a side of fresh crusty bread.
Looking for some other great Italian pasta recipes?
Classic Shrimp Scampi
Broccoli Spinach Lasagna
This super easy Italian bucatini pasta with broccolini and beans dinner comes together quickly for a simple and satisfying meal any night of the week.
Did you give this simple Italian dish a try? Let me know in the comments below or snap a photo and tag @coolbeanliving on Instagram. I’d love to see it!
Pasta with Broccolini and Beans
- 16 oz bucatini pasta
- 16 oz broccolini
- 15 oz cannellini beans rinsed
- 2 tbsp hot pepper spread
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp Italian seasonings
- salt & pepper to taste
- Begin by bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil and cooking the pasta according to directions on package. When straining pasta, reserve one cup of liquid; set aside. Return pasta to pot.
- Meanwhile in a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add broccolini, season with salt & pepper, and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring occassionally.
- Add 3 tbsp of water to skillet; cover for 3 minutes to allow broccolini to steam.
- Once steamed, add in cannellini beans, garlic, hot pepper spread, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper, as desired. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add reserved pasta liquid into skillet and stir to combine. Pour broccolini and bean mixture carefully into pot of pasta and mix well.
- Scoop into serving bowls and serve garnished with Pecorino Romano cheese and a side of crusty bread, if desired.