Friday, 2 December 2011

Cannellini Beans in Tomato Sauce

Beans are a big part of Italian cuisine. They are a pantry staple and provide shelf-stable nutrition for lean times. They are great sources or protein and fibre and carry flavour well. We should definitely be incorporating beans into our meals more often.

Beans also happen to be the theme of this week's cooking club. I have adapted Tessa Kiros' cannellini beans in tomato into a more saucy version, suitable for ladling over pasta shells.

Pasta shells are fun, and they hold on to the little beans perfectly, like a well-deserved hug for this hard-working pantry item.

Buon Appetito!

Cannellini Beans in Tomato Sauce
for I♥CookingClubs Bean There Done That
adapted from Apples for Jam, Tessa Kiros

1¼ cups dried cannellini beans

1 sage sprig
1 bay leaf
kosher salt

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large purple onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup red wine
handful of chopped parsley
fresh ground black pepper

In a small slow cooker, place the dried beans and cover with about 5x the amount of water. Let sit, covered but don't turn it on!, overnight. 
The next day - turn the slow cooker on to high. Add the sage and bay leaf. Cook, covered, until the beans are the texture you like. This will likely take a couple of hours, depending on the age of the beans. Add  a good pinch of kosher salt half way through.
Drain your cooked beans. (If they are ready before you are, they can sit for a little bit in the water. Or if you want to cook the next night, you can put the beans in the fridge.)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot - heat up the olive oil and cook the onion on med-low until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two and then add the tomatoes. Stir and cook on medium until it starts to bubble. Add in the paprika and beans and turn back down to a low simmer. Add wine and let cook about a half hour, stirring. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Just before serving, add in a handful of chopped parsley.

Serve on pasta shells and pass the Parmesan.

This dish is healthy and delicious, and can easily be made into gluten free food by using gluten-free pasta!
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