One of my most favorite dishes on my recent trip to Italy was the beans! Simple bean side dishes were divinely amazing in Italy. So I knew that when I returned home, a big pot of beans would be the first dish I would try to replicate. For these Tuscan-Style Creamy White Beans with mushrooms and fresh herbs, I wanted soothing warmth and flavor to come through in each bite, and I wanted the texture to be rich and creamy, just like I had tasted at a few amazing restaurants, specifically those in Tuscany…
(stay tuned! coming this week and the next, more adventures and recipes from my trip to Italy!)
Beans are a vegan-dream! They are rich in fiber, iron and a good source of plant-based protein, calcium and folate. Plus they taste amazing and can be served in a variety of creative ways.
Flavor. Full. I wanted these beans to have some serious flavor. Blandness not wanted. So here are the three ways I helped achieve bold bean flavor:
1. I use veggie broth in place of water for the cooking of the beans.
2. I let the beans sit overnight before serving. This reduced them and intensified the flavor.
3. I used fresh herbs and an accent of sautèed mushrooms to add even more flavor. Bay leaf, sage, flat-leaf parsley and rosemary to be exact.
Tuscan-Style White Beans with Rosemary and Mushrooms
This is my spin on Tuscan-style white beans with rosemary and mushrooms, just like I enjoyed on a trip to Italy!
- 1 cup dry white beans, I used Cassoulet white beans
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups mushrooms, chopped (hen of the woods used)
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil,
- 2 whole sprigs fresh rosemary (1 for cooking, one for garnish)
- 3 fresh sage leaves **
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- **You may use both rosemary and sage or choose one only
- The night before you want to cook your beans, add the beans to a large pot and fill with water, covering beans by at least two inches. Allow beans to soak for at least four hours before cooking.
- Drain water from beans and rinse beans. Add then to a large cooking pot.
- Add the broth, garlic, sage and/or rosemary sprig, bay leaf, black pepper, 2 tablespoon olive oil. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer beans, covered for at least two hours. You want the beans to be very tender when you move onto the next step.
- When the beans are tender and most of the broth has been absorbed, go through and mash about ⅓ of the beans using a fork. This will help thicken the beans to a creamy state upon serving.
- Pour the beans in a glass dish and seal tightly. Place beans in the fridge and allow them to reduce overnight.
- The next day your beans will be even more marinated with flavor and tender texture. Remove the bay leaf and sprig of rosemary and pour beans in a pot, or place glass dish in a warm oven if your dish is oven-dafe. Heat beans to a hot and steamy temperature. Heating and simmering will further remove some moisture and intensify the flavor.
- Now is the time to salt the beans! Do a taste test and add salt to taste, or about 1 teaspoon for a bold savory flavor.
- The last step before serving is to add the mushrooms. Warm a skillet to high heat and add 1 tablespoon EVOO. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute on high until they are crispy on the edges, and cooked through. Just before finishing the shrooms, stir in the flat-leaf parsley. Add a pinch of salt to the mushrooms if desired. Tip: To add even more complex flavor to the woody mushrooms, add a splash of wine, about a teaspoon, just after you turn off the heat!
- Fold the mushrooms into the beans and pour the bean dish into a serving bowl. Top with the one fresh sprig of rosemary and serve! Delicious as leftovers too, these beans will last in the fridge up to a week when properly stored, tightly.
Yield: 4 servingsPrep Time: 08 hrs. 00 mins. Cook time: 02 hrs. 30 mins. Total time: 10 hrs. 30 mins. Tags: beans, italy,tuscan,side,