Cannellini Beans with Cabbage and Pasta

1/2 head cabbage, cored and chopped
1/2 pound cavatelli (or any other small pasta)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 large or 2 medium leeks, including some green parts, washed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup vegetable stock (the key to this recipe is having really flavorful stock)
3 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained but still moist.
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese for garnish 

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the cabbage and cook for about 3 minutes, until just tender;  use a slotted spoon or a small strainer to fish it out; drain and set aside.  When the water returns to a boil, add the pasta and cook until tender but firm, 7 minutes or so, then drain it.

2. Meanwhile, put the oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, add the leeks and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the thyme, and the wine if you’re using it, and cook for another minute, until almost dry.  Add the stock, beans, and reserved cabbage.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the flavors blend and everything is well heated, about 5 minutes more.

3. Combine the bean mixture and the pasta in the large pot and stir gently.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve. 

 – How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman


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