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We have certainly moved by leaps and bounds here in the My Husband Hates Veggies household, but we haven’t yet evolved to the point where I can get away with adding my favorite veggies to pasta. Florets of broccoli, chunks of eggplant, hearty leaves of spinach – none of these pasta additions would ever fly with my veggie-averse husband. Sure, I have had success in the past pulverizing veggies into tomato sauces, but sometimes a simple, chunky, one-pan, no-blender-required sauce is what I crave.

I have been reading quite a bit lately about super-foods, and all the health information that those food scientists are still learning about these nutritional powerhouses. It didn’t come as any surprise to me that beans are near the top of the list. Tasty, fiber-filled, and nutrient dense, I have always loved them in stews, chilis, dips, and topped on salads. My husband may not love them, but he includes them on the short list of healthy foods he can tolerate – as long as its a particular kind of bean. Chick-peas are a big no-no. Kidney beans may make it through a few bites of chili, but will soon be pushed to the side of a bowl in favor of the chunks of meat. Black beans and pintos fare well, as long as they are mashed and served with tacos. And then, of course, there are those little white beans that are often found in minestrone soup. Conveniently, they are called “Small White Beans” when you buy them by the can, and I knew they were the perfect way to get even more superfood goodness into a simple tomato sauce, and my husband’s belly.

Kitty’s Farfalle & Sausage Meatballs w/ Tomato Sauce & White Beans
serves 4

2 – 26 oz boxes of Pomi crushed tomatoes
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
large handful fresh basil
large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 – 14oz can Small White Beans, rinsed
extra-virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
1 box farfalle pasta
4 links sweet italian sausage

Step 1: While you prepare the pasta, cook the onion and a dash of salt in a glug of olive oil over medium-low heat, until the onions are just soft. Add the garlic, and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, crank up the heat, and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the beans to the pan, along with the fresh herbs, and salt and pepper. Simmer until beans have softened and sauce has slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a separate pan, prepare your sausage meatballs. Remove the sausage links from their casing, roll into small little balls, and drop into a hot oiled pan. Fry until browned on all sides, and cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Step 3: Finish the sauce with a few dashes of red wine vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste.  Top warmed bowls of al dente farfalle with a heaping scoop of sauce, meatballs, and a fresh sprig of basil. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Sausage and white beans go together like cookies and milk, but feel free to omit the sausage if you are looking for a lighter dish, or want to keep it vegetarian. I thought that adding the sausage meatballs would be an added treat that may make my husband temporarily miss the fact that the sauce was swimming with healthy white beans and loads of fresh green herbs. It must have worked, because he cleaned his plate.

On our official veggie fake-out broccoli head rating sale, I give this recipe 7 out of 10 heads of broccoli.