**Gluten free pasta is a lighter pasta — accenting the light sauce this recipe serves.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice

* 2 – 3 fresh tomatoes

Pinch of sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 sage leaves or basil leaves, cut in slivers (optional)

3/4 pound pasta, any shape  ( gluten free fusili)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or saucepan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir together until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with juice and a pinch of sugar. Raise the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are bubbling vigorously. Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook gently, stirring and mashing the tomatoes often with the back of your spoon until they have cooked down into a thick, fragrant sauce, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the beans and the herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

3. When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Cook al dente, following the recommendations on the package but checking about a minute before the indicated time. When the pasta is just about done, check to see if the tomato sauce seems dry. If so, add up to 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the pan and stir. Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce and serve, passing the cheese for sprinkling.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: You can make the sauce several hours ahead of serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 493 calories; 9 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 86 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 431 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 16 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”

NewYorkTimes:  martha rose shulman

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