When I crave a bowl of fettuccine and beans, I can whip the meal in ten minutes. The trick is to have all ingredients in the pantry already.
Here is enough for six people:
1 lb of fettuccine
1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes
2 cans of cannellini beans, or white navy beans, drained and rinsed
2T olive oil for the sauce
1T olive oil for last minute topping
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 C of parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1/2 C of grated Parmesan cheese
Put a big pot of water to boil for the pasta with a tablespoon of salt.
In a saute' pan saute the garlic and the pepper flakes in the olive oil for a couple of minutes, then add the peeled tomatoes, saving the juice.
Cook the tomatoes down, until they are broken up and incorporated. Add a bit of the juice until you get a thick sauce consistency. Add the beans and heat slowly. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, add the parsley flakes and turn off the sauce until the pasta is ready.
Cook the pasta until al dente, less than the recommended time! Taste after half the time. Then, keep tasting until the strands are just right.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Add the beans and sauce and mix gently.
Serve with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil in each bowl. With crusty bread and a glass of your favorite wine, this is a meal ready in the time it takes to boil the water.
Note: dry beans cost pennies for serving. Canned beans will cost a bit more. Plain whole peeled tomatoes is all you need to make a great sauce. If you have fresh parsley, or basil, or thyme, your food will taste fresher.
Dried herbs will do a good job too.
You can use any type of pasta, and any type of beans you have on hand. This is the classic combination, however.