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Beef with Bow Ties and Beans

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister
difficulty rating

This is one of those meals where everything gets cooked in the same pot. So get out your largest non-stick frying pan and lets startcooking!

This recipe is from my friend Cristen Jones, a registered dietitian from the Boston area.  I’ve adapted the recipe just a bit for the startcooking crowd.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 2 cups of bow tie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 2 cups of broccoli

The beef, onion and broccoli are the only fresh ingredients you need for this recipe. Buy the rest of the ingredients in advance and just stick them in your food cupboard. Then when you are stuck thinking about what to make for dinner, you can have that “Ah Ha” moment and just pick up some ground beef, broccoli, and an onion!

Get all your ingredients prepared and measured in advance.

1. Rinse and drain the beans

2. Chop the onion

3. Wash and cut the broccoli into bite size pieces also known as florets

4. Measure out the spices

5. Reconstitute the bullion cubes-you will need 2 cups of broth

With the stove set to medium, add the beef and the onions to the pan. (If you froze your ground beef when you got home from the grocery store, you can defrost the beef really quickly in the microwave.)

Brown the meat until the beef is no longer pink-about 6-8 minutes.

Be sure to drain off any excess fat. I used VERY lean beef for this recipe so there really was very little fat to drain off.

Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the broccoli.

Mix everything together.

Cover the pot and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer. And cover the pot.

Simmer everything for about 10-12 minutes.

Lay the broccoli on top and re-cover the pot.

In about 3-5 minutes your broccoli will be nice and tender. Be sure not to over cook the broccoli as it will turn a nasty shade of green if you do!

Give it a taste. You may want to add more salt and some freshly ground pepper. You could also add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like.

As this dish sits, almost all of the liquid gets absorbed.

If you are making recipe the day before you plan on eating it, be sure to steam the broccoli just before you serve it.


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Rene Macaroglu said:

Dear Kathy,

I would prefer if the pasta was cooked separately.

I always find that pasta’s cooked water is not good for you :)

Please keep sending nice recipes, thank you…

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Rene, hmmm, I’ve never heard that one before! I will ask Cristin, a registered dietician, what she thinks as she is the one who gave me the recipe.

Jon said:


A question; I have never seen Great Northern beans

in a British supermarket – what else wold you suggest using (they look like a cannelli bean to me)?

As for using the pasta water – many Italian recipes I know suggest adding pasta water at the end of cooking to cut the sauce.

On a different track; have you thought of doing recipes aimed at people who are cooking for a family – where one has to deal with ‘fussy’ kids!!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Jon, Cannelli beans will work just fine! This recipe is actually great as a family weeknight supper. As for “fussy kids”, have you heard of the cookbook “Deceptively Delicious“? There are some great, kid friendly recipes there.

Daniel said:

I’ve also heard that the water that any kind of starchy carb is cooked in is not good for you. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because of all the starch that comes off the pasta when you cook it.

Jon (Sacker) said:

I’m wondering whether people are getting confused with the water between pasta cooking water and bean soaking water. The latter is certainly not recommended!


Kathy Maister said:

Great point Jon! Bean soaking water totally different than pasta water. (I’m still waiting back from Cristin who said she is doing a bit of research on this topic for us!)

Cristin Jones said:

Hello – I am the person who shared this recipe with Kathy and after doing a little research I have not been able to find anything harmful about pasta water. A small amount of starch is left behind in the water you boil pasta in, but the amount is trivial so it would not be adding any significant carbohydrate to your meal. If you would share what you have heard about pasta water that is “not good for you” I would be happy to look into it further. Thanks!

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks Cristin! We really appreciate your expert adivce!

Kim said:

What a great quick easy meal. I love that you only need a few fresh ingredients. It is a simple recipe that you can add a few other things to make those “picky” eaters like it.

Chris said:

My Italian Grandmother and Mother both add pasta water to their sauces and gravies. They have both been doing this for years, both are still healthy, , as am I. I have always wondered where these food myths get their start. It would make a good book or blog, crazy misconceptions in the kitchen.

Rene Macaroglu said:

To conclude this debate, if the pasta is fresh, you can use the pasta water. Here in Turkey at least, dried beans, rice, green lentils need to be prewashed or parboiled for at least five minutes and the water thrown away. Otherwise you will fart for three days :=)

Cindy said:

i really love one pot main dishes. I will give this a try. Nice combination of flavors.

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