This is a recipe I included in Near & Far in 2015 inspired by a trip to Italy a few years ago. Undoubtedly the best way I know how to cook beans, a version of Tuscan's very favorite bean recipe – fagioli al fiasco. And it's the method I always go back to. Traditionally, beans were baked overnight in a Chianti bottle placed near the fire hobbies that night. Although not exactly authentic (there is no fire here), I riff for the general idea, using a low temperature oven and an enamel lined. The technique couldn't be simpler and if you want to learn how to cook beans that are wonderfully luxurious, tender and creamy, this is the recipe to try.
What kind of beans to buy?
The beans pictured here are Rancho Gordo cranberry beans. Velvet and delicate skin is an absolute dream for cooking. You can also use cinnamon or cashew beans. I want to say, honestly, most beans cooked this way will be wonderful. The main thing I would pay attention to is the source. Buy beans from a place that has a good turnover or from a farmer or company you know and trust. Buying beans that have been sitting or stored for years can be a problem. The beans remain hard, etc.
The magic of bean broth
The key to these beans is their simplicity. It's one of those cases where you just Really you have to keep it basic. Use good beans, good garlic and good olive oil. The gentle, steady heat of your oven will convince the handfuls of ingredients in a beautiful, broth container with beans. Keep in mind that the bean broth is separate in itself and I like to drink it directly from the pot. It is flavored with Chilean flakes and dipped in olive oil and you should taste every tablespoon. Bean broth here is a bit more expressive than when I cook beans in the cookware.
Ideas related to serving beans
You can enjoy these beans on your own, use them to make bruschetta or toss them over pasta. We had them for lunch this afternoon over fresh masa tortillas softened with avocado and a cherry-style chermoula sauce. In fact, we've had this for lunch for the last three days. Laughter / crying.
Leftovers! I used the last of this bean container in a makeshift pot by throwing 2/3 beans (and broth) with 1/3 remaining pasta and a little torn mozzarella in an 8×8 inch pan. Top with a little more cheese, lemon zest, onions and lots of bread crumbs. Bake, cover for 35 minutes or until boiling and warm. So well! It is served right next to the asparagus and a simple salad. Bad picture below!
If you are interested in an Instant Pot version of this recipe, I have it for you. And if you're looking for other basic cupboard-friendly recipes, take a look at rice recipes (especially this green rice) or these pasta recipes (these pasta with creamy crumbled walnut sauce are quite popular rn). There are also many bean recipes in the archives, don't miss this simple farro & bean stew, this carrot, dill & white bean salad and ribollita is always pleasing to the crowd. If you are interested in seeing me cook these, I will post the video here (under the best moments of Cooking III). Enjoy!