Craving black bean soup? This dish will tide you over

FAST LANE FEAST

September 22, 1991|By Charlyne Varkonyi

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)

FOR SAUCE:

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

sour cream

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.

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