Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit!

Everyone, including my in-laws, has been begging for the recipe to the infamous soup that triggered an avalanche of love (and gas) in our family.  I must say there isn't a recipe more fitting, more tasty, and in the end more humorous than this bean dish to start off my recipe sharing career! 

In one try this quick meal became a grand slam in our house.  Not only do I love it, which really is the key factor to this quest, but my husband begs for it.  This dish is crazy easy.  Most items are stocked in your pantry, there isn't a ton of prepping, and move over Rachel Ray, this dish start to finish is ready in 10 minutes or so!  The hardest part of this meal is picking a wine to go with it!  This is a great meat alternative meal jam packed with protein, vitamins, and oozing with flavor.  It's warm; it's hearty; it's fresh. I promise it will become a midweek must have!

I found this recipe in Cookie Magazine in the January 09 issue.  They were doing a spread on beans! Needless to say, it caught my eye.  Loving anything in a tomato base, I thought I would give it a try and I'm so glad I did!  I added a few things to suite my tastes but as is the recipe is great for you and your kids. 

 "Fagioli-on-Toast" as is in Cookie Magazine:
4 thick slices of country bread (Buy a good crusty french loaf)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 
A few fresh sage leaves 
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes ( Buy Pom or Muir Glenn whole peeled and crush yourself)
1 15oz can of cannellini beans (If you can't find cannellini, try Great Northern or white)
1/2 tsp salt (Kosher for more flavor)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper (... or more!)

1. Sprinkle the bread with 2 tbsp oil.  Toast the slices until crusty and golden.
2. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet, then add the garlic and sage and stir until the garlic begins to brown, about 1 minute.
3. Add the tomatoes, beans, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.  Cook until the liquid is reduced and the soup is slightly thickened, a few more minutes.
4.  Serve, placing a toast into each soup bowl or generously spooning the beans and broth right over the bread, if the kids will let you.  
Tip: This is a great way to use up day old bread, or try tossing the soup with pasta.  

How I tweaked it:
Before you oil the bread, rub some fresh garlic cloves on them for flavor.
I thought it needed a little sweetness so I sauteed some shallots with the garlic and added 2-4 more cloves of garlic.  It's the base of the flavor so go for it.
I added some chili flakes for a little kick in the oil.
I added toasted pine nuts for a bit of crunch. 
I threw in a tbsp of unsalted butter at the end for some depth.
I topped it off with a drizzle of nice olive oil, good quality shaved Parmesan Reggiano, and fresh Italian parsley.  

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!  These are easy ingredients to stock for those don't-know-what-to-make nights.  You can even freeze your leftover fresh sage for the next go around. Remember good quality ingredients make for better tasting fare. Bonn Appetite!!

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