I love beans. Give me Italian or Indian bean dishes and I am in heaven. Without much ado today, this is a baked dish full of goodness and taste. Italian in origin, it is something we have been cooking for years. Fagioli Stufati means Stewed or Baked Beans.
Although this dish is traditionally made with the traditional white beans – cannellini, haricot or lima (butter) beans, I have also made the dish with black-eyed beans, and it was just as delicious.
It is a dish with extraordinary flavours for very little effort, apart from the soaking time and cooking time. For less than 10 minutes (closer to 5 minutes), you can have this dish on the table for lunch or dinner if you think ahead. Quite the opposite to Ottolenghi’s dishes, hey? Maximum flavour with Maximum Effort and Maximum Time.
2 cups cannellini beans, black eyed beans, lima beans or haricot beans
4.5 cups cold water
10 large sage leaves or 2 sprigs rosemary
4 Tblspns olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
black pepper and sea salt
parsley to serve
Ahead of time: Soak the beans overnight, or during the day, for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours, in a large bowl of water. It will froth a little.
At the time of cooking: Preheat the oven to 200C. Drain the beans and rinse them well.
Place the beans in a heavy ovenproof casserole or terra-cotta fagioliera. Pour in the water and add the sage or rosemary, olive oil, garlic and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Cover the casserole and bake for about 2 hours, stirring twice. The cooking time will depend on the dryness of the beans, the soaking time and even the method that was used to dry them. Check the beans after 1.5 hours to make sure they are not overcooking.
When the beans are almost cooked, squeeze the juice of 0.5 – 1 lemon over the beans and add salt to taste. Stir to combine, and continue to bake, uncovered, for an extra 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, check the seasonings, place on a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley and a little very good virgin olive oil.
Depending on the beans, cooking time, cooking dish and the beans, they might bake until dry, or have retain some delicious liquid when cooking is completed. If there is too much liquid with the beans, drain some off and keep for your next soup. I must say I love the cooking stock with the beans.