I used to not think much of beans. They were mushy. They were bland. When I moved to Florence, though, I found myself in a place that praised the humble bean. Fagioli, I quickly learned, could be full-flavored. Florentines eat their beloved beans as a stand-alone dish -- adorned with a glug of olive oil and laced with herbs. One Tuscan recipe, fagioli all'uccelletto, confits cannellini beans in a savory tomatoes, fruity olive oil and sage
Although the ingredients are simple, simmering over a low flame produces beans imbued with sage's earthy aroma. Beans' starchiness thickens the tomatoes into a creamy sauce--ideal for sopping up with a hunk of bread. Satisfying on their own, these beans are also sturdy enough to be spooned atop braised or grilled meats.
- 2 cups of cooked canellini beans, drained
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 6-8 leaves of fresh sage, whole
- 1 small can of crushed tomatoes, 14.5 oz
- 1/4 cup of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
On the stove, heat the olive oil at medium. Saute the garlic until it is softened and aromatic (but before it browns). Add 5 sage leaves and frizzle them for 1 minute in the oil. Then, pour in the tomatoes, water, drained beans and salt / pepper. Simmer over moderate (medium-low) heat for 20-25 minutes -- until the tomato mixture becomes creamy and thickens. Before serving, garnish with 1-2 fresh sage leaves. Serve while hot.