Gosh I love Cannellini Beans! I was waxing poetic about them on twitter after making a pasta dish with them, and called them cream beans because they made a delightfully creamy sauce without any dairy whatsoever. They were my bean of the week this week, and we went crazy for them!
Here’s how I made them:
Take about two cups of cannellini beans, dried. Soak them overnight. Drain them. Put them in a nice sized pot, throw in a stalk of fresh rosemary or two, cover with water by two or three inches, bring to a boil, then stick them on a low simmer until they are very soft — so soft that you can mash them against the pot with the back of a spoon. Mind how much water is in the pot — you may have to add more if it gets too low, but you want these to be saucy and not watery. This took about 90 minutes for me. That’s it!
The magic is in what you can do with them after they are cooked.
Have you ever been to Zoe’s Kitchen? They made these very simple white beans that are so delicious, that you can eat a ramekin of them as a side dish and be over the moon happy. I looked around and found some copycat recipes, and used these beans to make them Zoe style. Here’s what I did:
Get a skillet or pot (I used the cast iron dutch oven I cooked the beans in) and put in some oil of your choice. Dice a medium/large onion and as much garlic as you like (I used a head!) and saute until soft. Throw in another stalk or two of rosemary. Add back your beans and the beautiful bean liquor, then add about a cup of stock — whatever you have on hand. I’m sure a little more water would be fine too. Let the beans simmer. Taste — you may need salt. A few grinds of pepper for sure. Smash some beans on the side of the pot with your spoon or a fork or even a potato masher to make a thick sauce. You’re done! We had a big ramekin of these as a side dish and they made us so happy!
But wait — these are even more versatile than that. The next day I got some more garlic, some red pepper flakes, and sautéed some broccoli rabe. Added some of the beans, boiled some pasta, and oh! A fantastic, super creamy pasta dish. I think you can use any leafy green. This made us a hearty dinner, plus we both had it for lunch one day.
Tonight I’m making a ribollita type dish with them and some chard I got in my CSA box (more about that soon!). If this doesn’t use them all, I will mash some hummus style to have on crusty bread with a drizzle of olive oil. I probably won’t have enough to freeze, but I think they will freeze beautifully.
I look forward to making them again, and discovering even more ways to use them! I don’t want to play favorites, but oh gosh, these were super. I know David would say these are his favorite beans.