Wednesday, October 28, 2009


For some reason I have always thought that I didn't really like beans. We never ate beans at home while I was growing up, I'm not sure why my mom never made them. I guess I just assumed that I didn't like them. Well, as with many things from my past as a picky eater, that has changed. This isn't a brand new discovery, because I have been eating beans for a few years now, but here in Tuscany, beans are always present on the menu. Tuscans are bean eaters, and I have become one too now. I cannot get enough cannellini beans, I have made them twice already this week and I bought 2 more bags today at the grocery store. They are so easy to make and SO GOOD. I thought I would share my bean secrets with everyone on here, so in case you might think you don't like beans, just trust me and try these.

Fagioli all'olio
Start by soaking the cannellini beans in water for at least 5-6 hours. They will expand quite a bit, so you probably need less than what you think. Cannellini beans are just a dried white bean, I have seen them in the grocery stores at home.
Next, in a pot, heat a swirl of olive oil and add 2 slices of prosciutto, one branch of sage, and 3 whole cloves of garlic (peeled, but still whole). Just heat this up enough so it starts to smell wonderful and then add the beans (drained of their water). Add enough water to cover the beans by a couple of inches. Turn the heat down very low (you barely want even a simmer, turn it down so you barely have a flame) and let them cook nice and slow. Your kitchen will start to smell very good, and you might want to turn up the heat so they will cook faster and you can eat them, but resist that urge and let them cook slow! This is the trick! I let them cook for at least 3 hours. If the water level gets too low you can add a little bit more. When they are done, serve over nice toasted crunchy bread with a drizzle of a nice olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.
You will enjoy this, I promise.

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