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The white giant  beans called «gigantes or elephantes» have been cultivated in Northern Greece (Kastoria, Florina, and Drama etc.,) for centuries and are recognized by the European Union as products of Protected Geographic Indication (PGI).  These black giant beans are a new Greek variety and are not widely known in Greek cooking yet.

They are rich in antioxidants and as you can see from the package they are rich in proteins and carbohydrates with lots of healthy properies, perfect especially for the period of fasting.

On the package there was a recipe, probably Mexican, using corn, not that the recipe wasn’t good but I wanted to cook something really Greek, so I decided to improvise and make my own recipe.

I really enjoy creating new recipes as this is the best part of cooking which I love the most.  Old traditional dishes like Gigantes Plaki are fine but we just can’t stick to the old recipes and keep recycling the same things over and over again.

A few days before I had made a spanakopita in which I used some aromatic herbs.  Among them I used kafkalithres (small hartwort) and myronia (shepherd’s needles)» and still had some of these herbs which I wanted to use and had some frozen spinach  as well, so I decided to combine them in the recipe.  Even if you don’t add these aromatic herbs, the dish will still be delicious as these giant beans had a lovely sweet taste, like chestnuts and while cooking them the smell reminded me of butter.  In a lot of Greek recipes with tomato sauces we add pasta in the end to absorb the juices, so at the end I decided to add the pasta as well and it made a fantastic dish.

I am sending this recipe to Sowmya, of Creative Saga for her event Cooking with Pasta.

Gigantes me spanaki kai Makaronaki (Black giant beans with spinach and pasta), Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:30 minutes

Cooking time:2 hours

Serves:4 – 5

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams giant black beans from Kastoria
  • 200 grams piccolini (mini pipe rigate) pasta
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 300 grams, fresh or frozen spinach
  • ½ cup kafkalithres
  • ½ cup myronia
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 5 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (500 grams) with juice blended with 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 700 ml water plus 1 more cup

Directions:

  1. Soak beans in plenty of water, overnight.
  2. Drain and add fresh water and bring to a boil and remove any froth with a slotted ladle.Cook for about 1 hour, drain them again and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven at 200oC / 400oF.
  4. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and sauté onions and garlic until translucent.
  5. Add spinach and sauté for a few minutes, then add chopped celery, carrots, parsley, kaflalithres, myronia and beans and mix.
  6. Add, tomato and tomato paste, salt and pepper and water and mix.
  7. Place in a casserole with lid and cook covered for an hour.
  8. Add pasta and cook covered for five minutes. Remove the lid and if all the sauce has been absorbed, add 1 cup of water and turn off the heat.Mix it a few times until the water has been absorbed.

Tomorrow is the Announciation of the Virgin as well as Greek Independence day, which is a public holiday.  It is also my daughter’s name day, so I will be busy cooking for family to celebrate this special day.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi kai Chronia Pollai!!

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Gigantes me spanaki kai Makaronaki (Black giant beans with spinach and pasta)

  1. Ο/Η Peter λέει:

    Interesting, black gigantes. Do they taste differently, any differing nutritional value?

  2. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    Black gigantes? I wish I could get my hands on them here! They look lovely as does your creation Ivy. I totally agree about cooking and getting creative…that's the best part!

  3. Ο/Η Rosa λέει:

    A deliciously healthy dish! I love the idea.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Ο/Η jen of a2eatwrite λέει:

    How gorgeous! I've never seen black gigantes before. I've been on enforced blogging/reading leave, but it's great to "see" you again!

  5. [...] Continued here: Black gigantes with spinach and pasta [...]

  6. Ο/Η Claudia λέει:

    Have a Happy Independence Day! I'd love to try this creation of yours, but finding the ingredients may be a trick. Black Beans? We have those. What are the aromatic herbs closest to in the English or American kitchen?

  7. Ο/Η Parita λέει:

    The dish sounds very flavorful! black gigantes is something new to me and never seen or eaten before , thanks for sharing!

  8. [...] Black gigantes with spinach and pasta kopiaste.org/2010/03/black-gigantes-with-spinach-and-pasta – view page – cached The white giant beans called “gigantes or elephantes” have been cultivated in Northern Greece (Kastoria, Florina, and Drama etc.,) for centuries and are recognized by the European Union as products of Protected Geographic Indication (PGI). These black giant beans are a new Greek variety and are not widely known in Greek cooking yet. Filter tweets [...]

  9. Ο/Η Angie from Angie's Recipes λέει:

    I shall look out for some black gigantes! The dish sounds very healthy and nutritious!

  10. Ο/Η Happy Cook λέει:

    This beans is really new to me , the dish looks really yumm.

  11. Ο/Η sowmya λέει:

    i always get a unique entry from you..get to learn something new about your cuisine always..and this one is very interesting recipe..thanks a ton Ivy…

  12. Ο/Η Greek Independence Day λέει:

    [...] Black Gigantes With Spinach And PastaTomorrow is the Announciation of the Virgin as well as Greek Independence day, which is a… [...]

  13. Ο/Η 5starfoodie λέει:

    Very intrigued by the black giant beans and would love to try this delicious pasta dish!

  14. Ο/Η Erica λέει:

    I love beans! I would love to try those black giant beans and your dish looks fantastic.

  15. Ο/Η Jude λέει:

    Nice!! I'll lokk out for those..we love legumes in our little family..Take care

  16. Ο/Η mylittleexpatkitchen λέει:

    Ivy I love your dish! Black gigantes, what a find. When I come to Greece I'll definitely buy some or I'll just ask my mother to send me some. I'm really excited about the possibilities.
    Magda

  17. Ο/Η tasteofbeirut λέει:

    Do these get sold in the US? I have never seen them; I love black beans they taste so good with chipotle peppers; I would love to try those!

  18. Ο/Η Nadjibella λέει:

    Un plat délicieux.
    Je note la recette.
    A bientôt.

  19. Ο/Η alison λέει:

    delicious and very healthy dish!

  20. Ο/Η pierre λέει:

    I have never seen such black beans !! Pierre

  21. Ο/Η Cakelaw λέει:

    LOL – that pasta reminds me of little snail shells rather than elephants ears.

  22. Ο/Η Reeni λέει:

    This looks really great Ivy! Very hearty and comforting. And healthy.

  23. Ο/Η Simona λέει:

    What a beautiful dish!

  24. Ο/Η heni λέει:

    What an interesting bean! I learn always something from your blog Ivy!

    I tried your other Gigantes recipe but I used haricot since I could not find those. It was a hit w the family so has since been adding to the list of family favs.

    I would like to try this but unforunately no black beans like this here? What do you suggest as sub Ivy? Thanks again!

  25. Ο/Η bean mad λέει:

    where oh where to buy these beans in Oz?

  26. Ο/Η Demetra Lambros λέει:

    Hi Ivy! I am cooking black gigantes today and your posting is the only one I could find on the subject. I don’t have the herbs but I’m trying something similar. So glad you had written about these–I had them in the pantry waiting to be cooked… You gave me the inspiration to go for it!

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