Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tricolor Rotini with Lupini Beans, Vegetables, and Ricotta Salata Cheese for My Legume Love Affair #48 and Presto Pasta Nights #271

Tricolor Rotini with Vegetables, Lupini Beans, and Ricotta Salata

As much as I am a legume aficionado, there is always a bean around the corner which I've never tried. Lately that corner I've been rounding has been into the market aisle which shelves the specialty Italian imports.  While I routinely stop for a jar of black oil-cured olives and a cellophane package of elegant savoiardi biscuits, I've never been tempted to consider lupini beans.  It's not because I have lost my keen sense of culinary curiosity, but for the simple reason that without my glasses, I repeatedly have mistaken them for nuts floating in water. It was quite by accident that I distinguished then as beans when reaching close for some snappy twisted pods of pepperoncini. It was only then that I noticed the smooth and golden flat orbs with their distinctive little bivalve-like shells, nipped at the corners with one tiny oval gap of a mouth.  My antennae up, these required further investigation.

Sometimes one can be shortsighted in more ways than one. Since the label clearly proclaimed front and center that they were "Ready to Eat," I served them exactly as they were, drained, straight from the jar.  It was quite a surprise that I found their texture just a little bit tough on the teeth, as well as their taste strong of salt on the tongue, hiding what I nonetheless detected as a very pleasing flavor.

Then I read the fine print, literally the tiniest words tucked into a elusive corner curve of the label: "Rinse, pinch skin off, and they are ready to eat."  So while cooked, they still need some aftercare to make them perfectly palatable.  Preparing my recipe for a second time, the extra step was worth the effort.  You can never know too much when it comes to cooking.   It is live and learn when it comes to lupini beans. 

Tricolor Rotini with Lupini Beans, Vegetables, and Ricotta Salata Cheese - My own recipe

Makes 4 generous servings.


1 8-ounce jar cooked lupini beans, packed in salt water
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups peeled, shredded carrots
6 ounces pearl onions, blanched briefly in boiling water, then slipped from their skins
6 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
12 ounces tricolor pasta (your choice of shape)
1/2 cup grated ricotta salata cheese


Drain lupini beans.  Holding a small piece of paper towel, grip each bean with hole end away from your fingers.  Squeeze firmly and evenly.  Bean will slide from shell.  Place bean in bowl of cold water.  Repeat with all beans.  Discard shells.  Leave beans to soak in water.

In an extra large skillet, warm olive oil over low flame until it shimmers (3 seconds). Stir in garlic, then add carrots, onions, and spinach.  Raise heat to medium.  Sauté for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, until carrots and onions are tender, and spinach has wilted and reduced in size.  Stir in lupini beans.  Lower heat and cover.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and divide into 4 pasta bowls.  Remove vegetable/bean mixture from heat.  Spoon onto pasta.  Top with grated ricotta salata.  Serve immediately.

This recipe is for Valerie of A Canadian Foodie who has hosted MLLA #48 and will have her round-up online on July 2.

I am also sending this to Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, creator of the very long-running Presto Pasta Nights #271. Ruth's round-up will be online on Friday, July 6.


  1. i will never stop admiring those cute button like lupin beans susan.. and the salad s simply tantalising

  2. A wonderful salad! So colorful and toothsome.



  3. I don't have access to lupini beans in a jar--or even dried. They must be similar to fava beans, but they do have the reputation when dried of being laborious to work with (days of changing the soaking water to eliminate bitterness). I do wish I could find some like these, however, as this dish is very, very appealing.

  4. Never heard of these beans, I should look out to see if I can find some, to try out something.., your recipe looks delicious

  5. There would be a lot of beans that I have yet to try. Here I meet another.

  6. When I was a kid, we ate lupini when an itinerant seller of seeds, olives and such came to my father's village around Ferragosto (August 15) when there is a multi-day festival. He had pumpkin and sunflower seeds, peanuts (which we call noccioline americane, American nuts), various types of olives and lupini. We bought un cartoccio, a paper cone full of them and, yes, you need to peel them but that's quite easy. I have never eaten them in a dish ;). That's a lovely pasta dish and after seeing it, I feel like getting some lupini and cooking with them.

  7. great looking dish and definitely a new bean for me to hunt down. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  8. I have never tried Lupini beans before. I certainly would like to now seeing this gorgeous dish.

  9. Lupini beans is a new one for me - I am sure I wouldn't read the small print either - but if I ever come across them I will try and remember your experience - sounds like a lovely dish