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Cannellini Beans, Tuscan Style

Cannellini beans

Cannellini beans

Rancho Gordo beans are exquisite: heirloom varieties that offer depth of flavor while being budget friendly. A rare but welcome combination.

Today I used cooked up a big pot (5 pounds!) for a community gathering. They were a hit.

Here is a redux of the recipe in a more family friendly size:

  • 1 lb cannellini beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 medium onions, cut in half, each half studded with 2 cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 celery stalks, 1/4 inch doce
  • water, to cover by three inches
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced or presssed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons EACH minced fresh Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme
  • 1 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

In a heavy dutch oven or bean pot, place the soaked, drained beans, onion halves, bay leaves, carrots, and celery. Add enough water to cover by at least 3 inches.

Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that accumulates at the top of the beans. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, cooking gently, for 1 hour. Add the salt, and continue cooking without the lid for 30 minutes or until the beans are tender and cooked through. Discard onion halves and bay leaves.

Remove the beans from the pot to a bowl, and measure the bean broth. Reserve 3 cups of the cooking liquid. Rinse and dry the bean cooking pot.

Add the olive oil to your clean, dry dutch oven or bean pot and heat on medium for 1 minute. Stir in the minced garlic and stir quickly so that it doesn’t burn. Add the beans, reserved cooking liquid, herbs, and cheese and bring to a brisk boil. Stir every couple of minutes so that it does not stick. The sauce will gradually reduce and thicken. A few of the beans may split, but they will help thicken the sauce. The sauce should reach the desired consistency in about 10 minutes. Add cracked pepper and salt to taste.

Tastes great as a side or main dish, or on crostini as an appetizer.