Now that we’re wandering into the Autumn, I’m beginning to think about heartier dishes. You know, good peasant food. The Goddess loves the bold, assertive flavors and stick-to-your-ribs quality that peasant food brings to the table. I think most people like that sort of food…at least the people who come to our table seem to! This is a very versatile dish, is actually even better made ahead and reheated and it’s flexible. It can be made into a soup, which is more or less Ribollita, simply by adding some stale bread chunks and more water or stock. But, today we’re having it along side Tuscan Stuffed Chicken Quarters (the thigh/drumstick combination), Celery, Pineapple and Avocado Salad with some Catalan Tomato Bread…it’s going to be one of those days!
I’m using canned cannellini beans, but by all means, soak the dried beans and cook them from scratch, if you have the time or the inclination. They will be better when you do them yourself. There is no question about that, but using canned beans is an acceptable alternative.
Tuscan-Style White Beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small fennel bulb, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 small onion, finely diced (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 small tomato, seeded and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes, very finely diced (optional)
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely minced lemon or regular thyme leaves, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans well-drained cannellini beans
- 1-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
- 1/3 cup broth
Heat a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add the oil and when hot, add the fennel, onion and bay leaf. Sauté until the vegetables become translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato, sun-dried tomatoes (if using), half the herbs, garlic; sauté briefly, about 3 minutes. Pour in the beans and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir and let the mixture sit, off of the heat for at least 1 hour.
Return the pan to the heat. Add the broth and remaining herbs. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
Tuscan-Style White Beans Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
This is a pretty painless and quick dish, that packs a good bit of flavor. A quick sauté of onions, fennel and garlic, then some diced tomatoes thrown into the pot. A bit of simmer, then add the canned, rinsed and drained beans.
This will work with garbanzo beans, too. You don’t have to let the beans sit for that hour, but I do think they benefit from any time you can let them sit, before you “finish” them and serve them. Make plenty, so you can add additional broth, chunks of dry bread (maybe some leftover Catalan Tomato Bread?) to the leftover beans, and you will have a lovely Ribollita for dinner or lunch later in the week.