Friday, December 2, 2011

Cannellini Beans with Olive Oil (Fagioli Cannellini All' Olio): Simple Beany Goodness

Beans fill my pantry--dried beans in jars and canned beans for quick and easy meals. I love me some beans and I usually make some form or another of them once a week. Beans are healthy, cheap, filling and tasty--excellent comfort food. Since we are celebrating the mighty bean this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs with our Bean There Done That theme, I selected a simple dish of Cannellini Beans with Olive Oil (Fagioli Cannellini All' Olio) to use some of my dried bean collection. Although it would be difficult for me to pick my favorite beans, I do love the smooth, creaminess of the cannellini and the fact that they are paired with my beloved sage in this recipe made me happy.

This recipe comes from Twelve: A Tuscan Cookbook by Tessa Kiros

Tessa Kiros says, "You can use fresh or dried cannelloni beans for these recipes. Dreied beans, however, will need a minimum of 12 hours of soaking and will require double the cooking time of fresh beans."

Canellini Beans with Olive Oil (Fagioli Cannellini All' Olio)
Twelve by Tessa Kiros
(Serves 6)

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh or dried cannellini beans (soaked overnight in cold water if dried)
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 a celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
10 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp olive oil plus extra for serving

If you are using fresh cannellini beans, wash them in cold water. If they are dried, drain the previously soaked beans. Put them into a large saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim the surface with a slotted spoon to remove any scum.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Lower the heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 40 minutes for the fresh beans and 1 1/2 hours for the dried beans. Add more water during this cooking time to ensure the beans are covered. Season with salt in the last 10 mites of this cooking time.

Test to see if the beans are soft, if not, cook for longer. Drain the beans and serve hot, or at room temperature, drizzled with olive oil and a grinding of black pepper.

Notes/Results: Creamy and full of flavor. I did make a few changes--upping the garlic, celery, carrots and sage slightly, and leaving the broth rather than draining the beans before serving. It's part of the bean experience--being able to soak up all the sauce with some bread (in this case it was a whole grain flat bread), and besides, the beans will continue to soak it up a bit as they sit. I cooked mine about 2 hours as I prefer them nice and creamy, and I cooked the beans and the bay leaves for about 40 minutes before putting in the vegetables and sage (so they didn't cook away to nothing and still had some texture). I like to ladle the hot beans on top of some baby spinach in order to get some greens into my meal. The heat wilts the spinach nicely and makes it a more complete (and more colorful) dish. Eat these as is (they are even better the next day), add some extra veggie broth to make a soup, or drain and mash them, add a binder and make them into bean burgers or croquettes.

You can check out the bean dishes of the other IHCC participants by going to the post and following the links.


  1. looks delicious and perfect for cool weather :)

  2. If I could curl up with a bowl of beans at least once a day, I would. They really are so comforting! I love the simplicity and sheer deliciousness of this!

  3. Oh yum!! I agree, I love beans. Have them in every size, shape, color and flavor in my pantry at all times!

  4. It would be so filling- one pot comfort!

  5. I like all of your suggestions (soup, mashed, etc). What a versatile recipe! And I like what you've changed--more garlic, adding spinach. Nice dish! Makes me want to eat cannellini beans more often.

  6. Beans sound so sexy in Italian! Looks great, very soothing. And I agree about always upping the garlic!

  7. I, too, love the fantastic creaminess of cannellini's. This sounds so good, I know I'd enjoy it =)

  8. Creamy and full of flavor... I think you said the magic words. This is SO my kind of dish!

  9. I love beans. I wish so much that my husband also liked them. If so I'd be eating them at least once a week.

  10. I love beans too, especially white beans. I find cannellini can be hard not to turn them mushy, though. Perfect if you want mashed beans, though. ;)

  11. Kat--thanks! They are good comfort food. ;-)

    Joanne--Me too! ;-)

    Pam--they are a pantry staple. ;-)

    Shri--filling and really good. ;-)

    Michelle--thanks! They are versatile and perfectly good as is. ;-)

    Natashya--Yep, can't go wrong with more garlic.

    Heather--I bet you would--so creamy and good.;-)

    Kim--thanks! me too. ;-)

    Corina--maybe you can convert him some day?! ;-)

    Janet--These were soft and creamy but still had good texture and were not at all mushy--just the way I like them. ;-)

  12. "part of the bean experience" - I love it! I really love how you served these soupy on a bed of spinach. A perfect and complete meal!

  13. That's a lovely interpretation of Tessa Kiros' recipe. The colours alone are so appetizing - just love it :)

  14. I could so see eating a nice big bowl of this after an afternoon of hiking in the snow. Beautiful.

  15. My goodness those are some pretty beans! I will have to bookmark this recipe for the future.

  16. Have to get myself some more beans in my pantry, to try all these lovely recipes everybody made this week.

  17. Kim--yes, I am very particular about my bean experiences! ;-)

    Torwen--thanks! ;-)

    luckybunny--it is very warming and filling so perfect after a cold day outside. ;-)

    Meredith--thank you! ;-)

    Yvette--they are so handy to have around for simple dishes. ;-)

  18. This looks really good.
    I found a can of cannellini beans in the back of my shelf, so maybe I'l make this for the potluck.

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