Why is it that food always seems to taste better where it originates?
You can't tell a Marylander that a crab cake from Seattle is better than one made from a crab fresh out of the bay. You better not try to praise the local Mexican fare to a Texan. And few Floridians will be convinced that black beans taste good outside of Miami's Little Havana or Tampa's Ybor City.
Soon after I moved to Baltimore from Florida nearly five years ago, I went into black bean soup withdrawal. Since then, I have discovered some decent restaurant versions that ease the cravings. But in between, to survive withdrawal, I figured out a way to get the flavor of black beans without the fuss of soaking the beans overnight and preparing an authentic soup.
The quick black-bean fix for during the week is ole pasta with black bean sauce -- a simple sauce made from the puree of canned black beans, some seasonings and good old Mexican-style toppings like sour cream, green onions and tomatoes. Serve it with a salad, Italian bread and a brownie topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Items you should have in your pantry include: olive oil, garlic, sour cream, green onions, salad greens and dressing.
Your 10-item-or-less shopping list should include:
* 1 pound pasta, such as bows
* 1 can black beans (15 ounces)
* 1 bottle picante sauce (8 ounces)
* 4 plum tomatoes
* 1 loaf Italian bread
* chocolate brownies
* vanilla ice cream
Ole pasta with black bean sauce Makes 4 servings
1 pound pasta (such as bows)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 can black beans (15 ounces), including all liquid
1 tablespoon bottled picante sauce, medium or hot, depending on taste
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, sliced, for garnish
Put water on to boil for pasta. Cook according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil and saute garlic in a large frying pan. In a food processor with a fitted metal blade, puree beans. Add pureed beans and picante sauce to frying pan and mix well and heat through, about 3 minutes.
Mix beans and pasta together in a large mixing bowl. Divide into four dishes. Garnish with tomatoes, sour cream and onions and serve.