Thursday, April 24, 2014


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.

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