My husband recently went through the mountain of recipes that Alyssa and I had clipped from magazines. We enjoy Cooking Light, Sunset and occasionally Food & Wine. We also clip from the LA Times food section. I have hundreds of recipes that I have collected over the years, plus hundreds more from my mother. However, many times when I want to make something, I just Google the main ingredients or type of dish, read several entries and make my own version. Sometimes it’s nice to go through recipes for inspiration, and that is what my husband did after he organized the recipes. This is one he selected.

This vegetarian pasta dish uses spaghetti (more about that later), cannellini beans (which I love), arugula and tomatoes (which I try to avoid due to the acid). So, I decided to use red peppers instead of tomatoes — and it came out quite nicely. The original recipe was in Sunset magazine.

1/2 lb. spaghetti
3/4 t. kosher salt
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T minced fresh garlic (I used less, but the original recipe is garlicky)
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
2 red peppers cut in small chunks or 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 can(15-16 oz.) cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
7 oz. arugula leaves
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated parmesean cheese

Microwave the red pepper chunks for 2 minutes, until slightly tender. Drain. Cook pasta without salt or oil. Ladle 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and place pasta in a small bowl. Add 1/4 t. salt and toss gently. Set aside and cover to keep warm. Using the same pot, place on medium heat. Add oil, garlic and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned. Stir occasionally. Stir in remaining salt, peppers or tomatoes and beans. Add pasta and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. (When using the red peppers cooking time can be reduced.) Add pasta water and arugula and toss gently. Stir in lemon juice and cheese. Makes six 1 1/2 cup servings.

The lemon juice is what gives this dish its tangy flavor and we enjoyed the dish. One concern is that I always have a problem with pasta dishes that call for spaghetti without a sauce. The long strands build nests and don’t mix well with the other ingredients. I made this situation worse by using thin spaghetti. Maybe with tomatoes the mixture would have been more slippery. Next time I think I’ll try a small penne.

Happy Cooking!