Arugula is a great thing to have on hand. It’s got a nice peppery flavor, and is good raw or cooked in a number of different ways. Arugula also has a lot of nutritional value, another reason to make it a regular on your table.
I first made this recipe when I had originally intended to make an Italian bread soup, only to realize I’d forgotten the crusty bread I needed. Not to fear, the arugula and other ingredients were quickly redeployed in this Penne with Arugula, Garlic and Beans main dish pasta.
Penne with Arugula Cooking Notes
This penne with arugula is a very easy meal to put together on a busy weeknight! I wrote the recipe to use fresh red bell pepper, as I did most recently. But I have also made the dish with jarred roasted red pepper–use about 1/4 cup of roasted peppers if you want to go that way. You can also substitute pecorino romano cheese for the feta here.
You can easily make the arugula sauté while the pasta is cooking. I like to use whole wheat penne for the dish, adding to the nutritional value of the recipe.
Wine Pairing for Penne with Arugula
The most recent time we had Penne with Arugula, Garlic and Beans, we paired it with 2015 Chateau Rives-Blanques Odysée Chardonnay ($18, 13% ABV). This Chardonnay, from the Limoux region in Southwestern France, is light on oak and features bright lemon fruit. This fruit forward chard serves as a good counterpoint to the bite of the arugula and garlic. While this bottle paired very nicely, I wouldn’t open a typical California Chardonnay with this Penne with Arugula. Unoaked Chardonnay and other restrained versions of the grape are the way to go; or you could try a Pinot Grigio or other Italian whites.
I actually served this Penne with Arugula with a Nebbiolo one of the first times I made the recipe. The flavorful, medium bodied red worked pretty well with the arugula. So you have a number of good wine pairing options to consider for this recipe!
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ozs baby arugula
- dash of red pepper flakes, salt to taste
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 1 15 oz can red kidney beans (white would work too), drained and rinsed
- 12 ozs penne or other short pasta
- ⅓ cup feta cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- handful of chopped olives (optional)
- Begin boiling a pot of water to cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the red bell pepper, sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Let the garlic cook for a minute or two until it becomes golden.
- Stir in half of the arugula, along with another tablespoon of the olive oil. Let it start cooking down, 2 minutes or so, then add the rest of the arugula, red pepper flakes and the wine.
- Add the beans and salt to taste. Stir to combine. Give it another 3 minutes or so to heat the beans. Then reduce heat to low to keep warm while the pasta finishes cooking.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain, and toss immediately with the arugula mixture and the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Stir in the feta cheese, lemon juice, and olives, if using. Plate and enjoy!
- Just needs another two minutes or so, then set aside to toss with pasta when it’s ready.