Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Penne with Green Beans & Pine Nuts


Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by because of the Lowell Sun article and the blog links, Facebook posts and tweets that followed – welcome!

This weekend has been an exciting one here in Lowell – the second annual Lowell Film Festival.  The theme of the festival was “Food, Fair Trade and the Global Economy”.  The theme made for an interesting mix of films – I was able to see three.  Friday and Saturday nights’ headline films, The Garden and Battle in Seattle, were both very interesting and thought-provoking.

Battle in Seattle is based on the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and it stars quite a few big-name actors.  It didn’t have a wide theatrical release, probably because of its political content,  but it’s available on DVD – I definitely recommend it.

The Garden was nominated for an Oscar in 2008 and it follows urban farmers in South Central Los Angeles and their struggle to keep their farm.  I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say any more about the movie except that it is a must-see.  It has also given me my new favorite curse word – JAN PERRY – after the LA Councilwoman (used to describe someone who is being a pest, as in “You’re being such a JAN PERRY!  Stop it!” or “That’s so JAN PERRY of you!”).

My favorite of the films that I saw during the festival was Tableland (the link doesn’t seem to be working), it was by-far the most cheerful.  I saw it at Life Alive, a local organic cafe.  The place was packed!

Day 27/365 - Saturday, April 4th 2009 - Lowell Film Fest

The movie followed the film-maker’s two-year trek across the US and Canada as he visits small farms and producers.  The trip was interesting and the food was beautiful.  If you like food at all, which I assume you do if you’re reading this site, you should see it.

After a lovely Saturday full of a tasty breakfast at Lowell’s Owl Diner (love it), WAS Open Studios and movies, I was very hungry by supper-time.  Our friend E and her adorable daughter A were visiting so I wanted to make something that I knew they would enjoy, so I pulled out one of my faithful favorites – Penne with Green Beans and Pine Nuts.

Penne with Green Beans & Pine Nuts

This recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine and I was actually introduced to it at Nance’s house. The original recipe calls for asparagus, one of my favorite veggies, but Gist doesn’t care for asparagus so I substitute green beans.

It’s a quick and easy recipe that works well for a weeknight supper but it’s also nice enough to serve to guests.

It starts with lots of green beans (or asparagus)…
Penne with Green Beans & Pine Nuts

And some pine nuts get all nice and toasted – YUM…
Penne with Green Beans & Pine Nuts

Of course, there’s garlic involved…
Penne with Green Beans & Pine Nuts

Sun-dried tomatoes are added…
Penne with Green Beans & Pine Nuts

And at the end of it all, you have a delicious supper!

Penne with Green Beans and Pine Nuts
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb. green beans – I used 1.5 lbs., I love green beans!
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice – I use the juice of 2 lemons.
  • 1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place in a large bowl.

While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add green beans, broth, and lemon juice; reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Stir in tomato and salt; cook 1 minute. Add asparagus mixture to pasta, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and nuts.

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2 thoughts on “Penne with Green Beans & Pine Nuts

  1. I love green beans and I love Cooking Light. I will have to try this.

  2. I am also a thirtysomething amateur cook, photographer, yogi, and writer. I just wanted to say that your photos are beautiful!

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