Hopefully you. Because these Tuscan-inspired white beans, dear reader, are so much more. They taste like a sunset after a day’s work on the vines, like a garlicky song. They are peppery and creamy and my very favorite way to use cannellinis, my very favorite bean.
Cannellinis have a buttery, nutty flavor and pleasantly creamy texture when baked, and the top of the dish will take on a cassoulet-like crispness. With rosemary, Parmesan, balsamic vinegar and lots of fruity olive oil and garlic, it’s a lip-smacking side that pairs well with other big flavors: crisp roast chicken, grilled rib-eye, broccoli rabe, a fruity Sangiovese. Smash up a bit or purée for a bruschetta topping, or serve it as we do in my house: with the whole dish in the middle of the table and lots of crusty bread for scooping up every last bit of olive oil and herbs.
If you have the time and inclination, by all means soak and prepare dried cannellinis (skip the salt, though, which can toughen the already firm texture of these beans) but personally, I’m just as happy using the jarred variety. (Maybe it’s my imagination, but canned white beans seem to have a metallic tinge to them; look for ones stored in glass jars.) With a handful of fresh herbs and the rest of the pantry-friendly ingredients thrown in, it may just be love at first sight. Be sure to tip your matchmaker.
Garlicky White Beans
serves about 4-6 as a side, more as an appetizer
- three jars (10.6 oz each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 C red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 a medium onion)
- 4-5 medium garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1/4 C good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 C hard Italian cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, Pecornio, etc.), finely grated
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes (optional)
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Transfer to a oven-proof serving dish. Bake, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes until bubbling at the edges and warmed through. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve as a side dish or with garlic-rubbed crostini for a do-it-yourself bruschetta.