Creamy Penne with White Cabbage and Beans

Time: 45 minutes

Serve this sauce with pasta that can catch the mellow chunks of cabbage and bean. The grape juice softens the cabbage and the ricotta adds a creamy flavor and boosts nutrition.

A salad or a steamed vegetable, like a plateful of greens or steamed cauliflower, is all you need to make the meal complete.


  • Salt
  • 1 large onion
  • ½ head green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon anise or fennel seeds
  • 1 cup white grape juice
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) white cannellini beans
  • 1 pound penne, tubetti, elbows, or fusilli
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, whole or part-skim (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Finely chop the onion. Core and cut the cabbage into thin shreds.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, anise, and grape juice. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat until the cabbage is nearly tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse and drain the beans and add them to the cabbage. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes more.
  5. Meanwhile add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and return to its cooking pot, off heat. Season the cabbage and bean sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Add it to the pasta and toss well. Serve immediately, topped with ricotta if you wish.