Friday, April 06, 2007

fagioli alla Toscana

or ~~ Tuscan Style Beans
I am an admitted italiano-phile and last night I was reading a new cookbook that I got called "The Antipasto Table". It mentioned how Italians LOVE beans (as do I) and here is how they cook them: they "oven-bake" them slowly to tenderize them and retain their shape, only adding salt at the very end of the cooking time.

BUT ~ one needs a cast iron dutch oven in which to do this (which has been on my "list" for some time) and today I went in search of one. Do you know how expensive these are???????? OMG!!!! I was in sticker shock over the prices of Le Creuset - a medium size Dutch Oven is $150 ~ $225!!!! OMG!!!!!

I'm sure that pan would outlive me by a long shot, but who can afford to have it now??? OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!!

And so I took off for my fav local knock-off store, and lo and behold, there ~in all it's glory~ was a no-name brand of exactly what I was looking for!! It was RED, it was medium size (not too big and not too small) and it was OBLONG (my preferred shape). Yeh, it was made in China and it had a chip out of the rim, but not too big and something that woulda happened in short order anyway...

I snagged this prize and headed home to cook some fagioli of my own...

So here is what you do: rinse a pound of cannellini or Great Northern Beans, put them in a bowl covered with cold water by 2" and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. After that, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Drain the beans, put them in the ovenproof casserole with a cover. Add fresh water to cover by one inch. Add a large clove of garlic (peeled), a tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of fresh or dried sage. Bring to simmer over low heat on the stovetop. Move the dish to the oven and cook until tender ~ about an hour or so. Add salt to taste. Remove from oven, smash the garlic and add back to the soup. Serve warm or at room temp with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper. These are really good atop toasted rounds of fresh bread, garnished with chopped fresh onion...

And that is exactly how I just had them ~ YUM!!! Best beans ever! Try them!!!


Da Poet said...

So glad you are back as you were missed. I wondered how your family dinner went over. Did everyone enjoy the noodles? I have been on a bean kick for at least 2 months now. I just can't seem to get enough beans. My favs are lima beans but i like all kinds actually. My weight loss is good eating beans all the time too. I am now down to 235 :)
Keep blogging as I do so enjoy reading them. Oh yes I like your new dutch oven pan.

Judi Finneran said...

Your post made me smile and I love your new pot!