Recipe courtesy of Mark Bittman

White Beans with Cabbage, Pasta, and Prosciutto

I used to think you needed chicken stock for richness, but water creates a potent cooking liquid when the ingredients have plenty of flavor.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Salt and pepper

1/2 large cabbage, preferably savoy, chopped (about 3 cups)

8 ounces small pasta like cavatelli or orecchiette

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium leeks, chopped and rinsed well (about 2 cups)

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 ounces prosciutto, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

Three 15.5-ounce cans white beans, such as cannellini, drained

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese, plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the cabbage, bring back to a boil and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes; use a slotted spoon or small strainer to fish it out. Drain, and let sit. (You can shock it in a bowl of ice water to keep it on the crisp side but I prefer it soft.) When the water returns to a boil, add the pasta and cook until tender but firm; start checking after 7 minutes. Drain, reserving at least 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. Return the pot to medium heat (no need to rinse it) and add the oil. When it is hot, add the leeks, celery and a heavy pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the thyme and prosciutto and stir until fragrant, just a minute or 2.
  3. Add the cabbage, beans and pasta. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta or bean cooking liquid and cook, stirring once in a while, until the flavors blend and everything is hot, about 5 minutes more. If the mixture dries out, add a little liquid; it should be saucy but not soupy.
  4. Sprinkle with the cheese and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve, passing more cheese at the table.
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