Dinner tonight: pasta and bean bake

A layer of tangy sweet Swiss chard, enhanced with balsamic vinegar and golden raisins, transforms an average bean-and-pasta dish into a meal your family will ask for again and again.

Dinner tonight: pasta and bean bake

Preparation time 15 minutes 

Cooking time 40 minutes 

Serves 4

  • 350 g (12 oz) rotini
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 350 ml (1 1/2 c) chopped onions
  • 500 g (1 lb) Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
  • 175 ml (3/4 c) golden raisins
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) drained capers
  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
  • 0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (425 g/15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 750 ml (3 c) prepared marinara sauce
  • 500 ml (2 c) shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Coat an 27 x 18-centimetre (11 x seven-inch) baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until they start to soften, two to three minutes. Add the chard and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about two minutes. Add the raisins and cook until the chard is tender, three to four minutes.
  4. Stir in the vinegar and capers and cook until the vinegar is absorbed, about one minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and pepper.
  5. Combine the pasta, beans and marinara sauce in a large bowl; mix well. Pour half of the pasta mixture into the pan. Top with the chard mixture and 250 millilitres (one cup) of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining pasta mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 250 millilitres (one cup) mozzarella. Bake until hot and the cheese has melted, 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

One more notch!

Along with the chard, add 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) sliced fresh basil to the layer before you sprinkle with the mozzarella.

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