RECIPE: Tuscan Baked Beans
1 lb dried cannellini beans
4 T EVOO
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 oz. Pancetta, roughly chopped
3 leaves fresh sage (if fresh not available, use 4t chopped fresh parsley).
1 Leek, finely sliced
1x14 oz. can plum tomatoes, chopped with their juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1. Carefully pick over the beans, discarding any stones or other particles. Place the eans in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain.
2. Preheat the oven to 350. In a small saucepan, cook pancetta until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan and set aside. Heat the oil and sautee the garlice cloves and sage leaves for 3-4 minutes until garlic is tender but not brown. Remove from the heat.
3. In a large deep baking dish combine the beans with the leek and tomatoes. Stir in the oil with the garlic and sage. Add pancetta. Add enough fresh water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Mix well. Cover the dish with a lid or foil, and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 1 3/4 hours.
4. Remove the dish from the oven, stir the beans, and season with salt and pepper. Return the beans to the oven, uncovered, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 7-8 minutes before serving. Serve hot or at room temperature.
**For vegetarian version, simply omit the pancetta.