The other night Senor and I went with Sister & Beau to the very good Da Gianni Trattoria in Annandale. Great food. And accompanying my delicious lamb was a very fine, very simple white bean & tomato number that I kept yearning for later on. As you know, round these parts we love anything with a pulse – but unlike lots of bean dishes this one was zingy, light and fresh. So I had a shot at replicating it a few days later, and while mine wasn’t exactly as good as the restaurant’s, it was near enough to get the compliments we kitchen kids secretly crave …
Happily, I was able to use some of the slow-roasted tomatoes I had already made (from the home-grown glut, you understand *preen*). You could use canned cannellini beans but one of the best things about this dish was the only-just-tender, firm texture of the beans, and I reckon canned ones could go a bit slushy. So I say live dangerously, do the soaking thing and the result will be much better. I used whatever white dried beans were in the pantry (since I solved my bean dilemmas of yore I have given up caring what the difference may be between navy, cannellini, haricot & so on).
- 1 cup dried white beans
- 4 slow-roasted tomatoes (there’s a bit here on slow-roasting – easypeasy, but takes time)
- 6 anchovies, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- juice ½ lemon
- 1 bunch chives, finely chopped (if you use garlic chives, skip the garlic above)
- 4 basil leaves, cut into fine ribbons
- 1 slug best quality olive oil
- salt & pepper
1. Soak the beans overnight, drain and cook in boiling water until just tender. Drain & cool.
2. Chop the tomatoes as finely as possible without turning to mush.
3. Ditto with the anchovies.
4. Gently toss all ingredients together, adjusting the balance of oil, lemon & salt as you go. Done, and delicious.