August 14, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

A pasta dish solves a green bean dilemma

The green beans at the market were beautiful and, as usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, so I bought a quart. Then I bought another.

Two people can only eat so many beans in a week, so I froze some to use in the winter when I couldnt bear to look at another broccoli stalk. I didnt have any plans for the slender, crisp, bright green beans other than a quick steam until just tender then a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of summer savory and maybe some toasted almonds, if I felt like getting fancy. That took care of a half quart; I had to start making plans.

Problem solved: Last week when I talked about using zucchini ribbons as pasta, I figured Id better offer up some real noodles for the pasta lover in the house. The beans made it easy as I had pancetta and pine nuts in the freezer and a crisper drawer filled with those baby bell peppers in a rainbow of colors of yellow, red and orange.

Toasting the pine nuts and roasting the pancetta and peppers and green onions in the oven before tossing the beans in the pasta pot during the last few minutes of cooking made it easy. I mixed up the dressing while the pasta cooked. The pasta lover was happy, and I was relieved that my bean purchase paid off deliciously.

Pasta with Green Beans, Peppers, Pancetta and Pine Nuts

Recipe from Kate Lawson

3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 ounces diced pancetta
5-6 small red, yellow or orange bell peppers, sliced
5 green onions, sliced
8 ounces uncooked cavatappi or penne pasta
pound green beans, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 -inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cup crumbled Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange pine nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 3 minutes or until golden and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Place in a small bowl. Arrange pancetta on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 475 degrees for 6 minutes or until crisp; remove and let drain. Wipe pan and arrange peppers and onions on pan and place in oven to roast for about 15 minutes or until lightly brown.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; add beans to pot during last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain. Sprinkle pasta mixture with garlic; return to pan and toss well.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with pine nuts, pancetta and cheese. Serves 4.

Per serving: 375 calories; 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 24 percent calories from fat); 58 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 7 mg cholesterol; 410 mg sodium; 15 g protein; 7 g fiber.

KLawson@detroitnews.com