Thursday, June 16, 2005

White Beans with Pancetta and Sage

This is just such a good recipe! It is has become a favorite of ours.

1/2 pound large dried white beans -- corona beans (have used lima beans too because it is hard to find anything "different" here)
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour - for dredging
salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta (when I have not been able to find it I by just regular bacon)
6 sage leaves

Prepare beans - put the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak the beans overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the soaked beans, place them in a large pot and cover with fresh cold water. Put the beans over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Toss in the bay leaves and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until tender. Drain the cooked beans and spread them out on a sheet pan to cool slightly and dry off a little.

Put about 1/2 cup of flour in a shallow platter and season it with salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Toss the beans in the seasoned flour to coat completely.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta, fry for a couple of minutes to crisp it up. Toss in the sage leaves and fry for about 1 minute. Remove the pancetta and sage to some paper towels; now you have a flavor base. Shake off excess flour from the beans and put them in the pan in a single layer. Fry the beans for a good 10 minutes to form a golden crust on the outside of the beans, tossing to cook both sides.

Return the pancetta and fried sage to the pan, stir everything together, and serve.

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