Fagioli All’olio (Tuscan White Beans With Olive Oil)
In every restaurant in Tuscany, from genuine trattorias to tourist spots, you’ll find a side dish of white cannellini beans, served with good Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.
Serve these beans as they are, with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and more ground black pepper, or use them in one of the many traditional dishes of Tuscan cucina povera.
You can make a batch of beans in advance and store them in their cooking liquid in the fridge for 2–3 days. To keep them longer, drain the cooking liquid and freeze them.
Makes about 3 cups cooked beans
- 1 cup (1/2 pound) dry cannellini beans
- 2 sage leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- A few black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of baking soda (optional)
Soak the dry beans overnight in a large bowl, covering them completely with water.
The next day, drain and rinse the beans and collect them in a pot. They need enough space to double in volume while cooking, so choose your pot accordingly. Fill the pot two-thirds full with water, completely covering the beans. Add sage leaves, garlic, black peppercorns, and extra virgin olive oil.
Bring to a simmer and cook the beans, covered, over low heat until soft, with a buttery texture and thin, transparent skins. They might need a few hours, depending on their size. If using baking soda, add after about an hour of cooking. Drain (but save the cooking liquid!), and season with salt. Serve, with more olive oil and freshly ground black pepper, or use in one of the following recipes.