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Penne and Green Beans with Burst Tomato-Tarragon Sauce

Serves 4

Chili pepper adds zing to this tri-colored bean and tomato vegetarian-friendly pasta dish.


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 small red chili pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 2 pints ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry, crisp white wine or vegetable stock
  • 1/4-1/3 cup tarragon leaves, chopped (several sprigs)
  • 1 pound penne rigate, regular or whole grain
  • 1/2 pound green beans or haricots verts, trimmed and cut into thirds on an angle
  • 1/2 pound ricotta salata cheese, for grating


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chili pepper and swirl for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and shake to coat with the EVOO; season with salt and pepper and cover the pan. Cook until some of the tomatoes burst, 10-12 minutes, then break up the remaining tomatoes with a potato masher and deglaze the sauce with the wine. Reduce for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the tarragon and lower the heat to simmer. Adjust the seasonings.
  3. Salt the boiling water, then cook the pasta for 7 minutes; add the green beans (or haricots verts) and cook for 4 more minutes. Reserve half a cup the starchy cooking water; drain the pasta and beans and add to the skillet. Toss with the sauce and reserved starchy cooking water. Serve in shallow bowls topped with lots of coarsely grated ricotta salata.