If you are looking for a pasta dish with a different flair, look no further. This dish combines savory herbs, tomatoes, and black beans with a slightly sweet twist contributed by raisins and chestnuts. Chestnuts are much lower in fat than other nuts and are a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and folic acid.
I like the way the bits of tomato, beans, and nuts nestle in the shells so you experience a burst of flavor with every bite! Bon Appétit!
Pasta Shells with Chestnuts and Raisins
6 oz brown rice pasta shells (or other small whole grain pasta)
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) ready to eat chestnuts (you can find them here)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (14 oz can), with their juice
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1 cup cooked black beans (I use canned, drained and rinsed)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, snipped or chopped - see Notes)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Dry sauté the chestnuts and thyme leaves in the skillet until they become fragrant about 1 minute.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add tomatoes, olives, and black beans. Cook 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium and add garlic and raisins and cook 2 more minutes.
When pasta is done, drain, and add to the pan with the sauce. Toss and divide between 2-3 plates. Garnish each with the basil.
Chestnuts are expensive, but so are nuts in general. I have also made this dish with pine nuts and walnuts, but chestnuts really do give it that buttery taste. They can be hard to find in grocery stores, but you can get them online here.
Chopping herbs can bruise them giving them an unappetizing dark color. I use these herb shears to create tiny ribbons of herbs that stay nice and green.
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