December 16, 2016
These Tuscan-style white kidney beans are deceptively simple. A lot of flavor is coaxed out of a few ingredients. They are great on their own as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish. They make wonderful pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans). They freeze well so you can always have them on hand. The flavor is so good, you won’t resort to canned beans again!
Quite typically, these beans would have been made in the fading embers of a fire, often left to cook overnight. Although the contemporary version uses a standard kitchen oven, I made them in our wood-burning oven a while back. It was a challenge to keep the temperature at 250-275ºF but in the end it was worth it. There was a very subtle smoky flavor to the beans.
Buy the best quality and freshest dried cannellini beans you can find. If the beans are old they may never completely tenderize. I particularly like the Marcella Beans from Rancho Gordo.