This is really a side dish, but I can ( AND DID) make a meal out of it, it’s that hearty! You can omit the meat to make it healthier. This is a totally healthy Tuscan dish full of flavor,fiber and nutrients. In the not-so-distant past, Tuscans referred to legumes as “the poor man's meat”, an economically viable alternative to obtain nutrients and a way of making use of the countless bean varieties that have been grown in Tuscany for centuries. I consider this dish a “stoup”. I am here to tell you this is D👏I👏V👏I👏N👏E. I love it when flavors come together and is inexpensive too! Think of this as an Italian pork and beans! I paired this with a Chilean Cab, and it paired beautifully. This makes enough for 4 sides, or 2 meals. But, I ate the whole thing. Not even embarrassed, it was THAT good.
This one is going in the new cookbook!
You will need:
1 can drained and rinsed cannelini beans
4 garlic cloves minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/3 cup diced Guanciale, Pancetta or 2 slices of bacon
2 ripe tomatoes diced with juices OR 1 cup of passatta ( strained tomatoes)
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp butter
6 basil leaves torn
Salt and pepper
Coat bottom of a pan ( that has a lid) with olive oil, once hot, add the pork and cook until done, remove to a bowl . In the same oil ( maybe add more) add garlic and red pepper flakes. When the garlic gets toasty and light brown add the onions and cook until translucent. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, pork, salt and pepper. Stir, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, removing lid the last 10 minutes to thicken up and adding the butter and some chopped basil. Stir well and often. Ladle into a bowls, top with grated pecorino, a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with more basil. Serve with a side of crusty bread.