Sunday, January 5, 2014

tuscan white beans

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tuscan white beans
adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? and Ezra Pound Cake 
serves 6

454 g. (1 lb.) dried white cannellini beans
1/4 c. olive oil
4 c. fennel, chopped (about 2 large fennels)
2 c. carrot, chopped (about 4 carrots)
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
 3 c. chicken stock
1 tbsp. fresh sage leaves, minced
2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1 tsp. regular salt)
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground pepper
1/2  2/3 c. Asiago, Parmesant, or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
splash of white wine
(optional) couple shakes of dried marjoram powder
(optional) 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced

You have two options for soaking the beans: slow and quick.

Slow option: Cover the beans with water at least two inches higher than the beans. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.

Quick option: Cover the beans with water at least two inches higher than the beans. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.

Strain and rinse the beans. Put them back in the pot and add about twice as much water as beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncover until they are tender, about 45 minutes (depending how old your beans are).

In the meantime, heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Stir in the fennel and carrot. Cook 8  10 minutes, until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 more minute.

Once the beans have cooked, strain them and add them to the vegetables.

Add 2 cups of the stock, sage, salt and pepper. Also add the marjoram or rosemary, if using. Bring to a simmer and cover. Stir occasionally and simmer for 15  30 minutes, until the beans are a very tender and a bit creamy. Add more stock if you'd like it a bit saucier.

Add the wine. Turn the heat off. Stir in the cheese. Taste for salt and pepper (you'll probably need more.) Serve hot with a piece of crusty bread or cheesy toast.

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