Pasta with Beans, Greens, & Ricotta

Don’t you love it when a recipe has a punch line? "Stir in 1/2 cup ricotta" is a fun, final flourish, up there with handing a new top hat to Harpo. Keep that in mind for the wine choice, too. That little bit of sweetness from the creamy cheese will ask you for a wine, either red, white or pink, that is itself buoyant with fruit or ever so slightly sweet. Nothing sugary, really; that’s too much. Just a whisper, like the dish itself, swaddling the earthy, verdant, layered flavors coming from all else. Like the name of the cheese, an Italian would be nice but not crucial.

Here’s what you'll need:

• 2 cups tubetti
• 4 ounces pancetta
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 cups chopped kale
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans
• 1/2 cup ricotta

Here’s what you do:

Makes: 4 servings.
Cook tubetti or other similarly shaped pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until almost tender. Drain. Meanwhile, cook pancetta, chopped, in a Dutch oven over medium heat until fat renders and meat is browned. Add garlic, thinly sliced; cook, 1 minute. Stir in kale. Cover; cook until almost tender. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the pasta, chicken broth and cannellini beans, drained. Cook until heated through. Stir in 1/2 cup ricotta. Season with red pepper flakes.

And the wines!

2016 Auspicion Cabernet Sauvignon | California
Genial, upfront dark fruit; buckets of chewy, pillowy texture; and chalky, mouth-rounding tannins; delicious and a terrific value.

2017 Kellerei Bolzen/Cantina Bolzano St. Magdalener Schiava Blend | Sudtirol/Alto-Adige, Italy
This blend of Schiava and Lagrein grapes is low in tannin, high in acidity, with all the sour plum, tart dark cherry character that both grapes offer, in a medium-bodied, super-refreshing red.

2017 Gran Passione Rosso | Veneto, Italy
This is in the "ripasso" style of wine (think "baby Amarone") and it is all pluses: refined, mature tannins; dark, extracted but brooding and voluptuous fruit; come-hither scents; lengthy aftertastes.