In the real world, a triathlete runs, swims, and bikes for most of the day. In New York, a triathlete does Physique57, sprints for a juice, and then power shops at Kirna Zabete. If you add in 10 miles of power walking in knee highs and a short skirt, the NYC calorie burn probably exceeds that of an Iron Man. Either way, such preening requires abundant, healthy fuel, and so this luscious mixture of pasta and beans provides the best combination of carbohydrates and protein you can get, with a little fat and veggie thrown in for good measure.
With many regional variations, pasta with beans is a traditional peasant meal enjoyed in most parts of Italy (where a triathalon is merely a three course meal). So regardless of whether you are competing to win the trophy … or to become the trophy, this Sunday Pasta will provide you with the energy you need win.
Soak the beans overnight in abundant water. In the morning, drain them and then replace the water so that they are covered by a few inches. Boil for 2 hours. (*If you are in a hurry, you can use canned white beans or cannellini beans)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
In a large skillet, sauté the onion, celery and garlic until translucent. Add the pancetta and cook over medium heat until the onions are golden, but taking care that the pancetta doesn’t get crispy. As described above, if you are starting with dry beans, drain them after the 2 hours of cooking (assuming they are tender) and then add them to the onion mixture. If using canned beans, add them now. Cook over medium heat for 5-10, making sure that the beans do not disintegrate. Cook the pasta, drain it and retain 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the beans. If the mixture seems dry, add some of the retained cooking water. Add black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmigiano.
*2 hours with an overnight soak of the beans (45 minutes if using canned beans).
Ed Garrubbo, Editor