Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quick Lunch: Tuscan White Beans and Chard

A perfect summertime recipe for leftover home-cooked cannellini beans, and fits the bill when you're in the mood for a weekendy backyard picnic with a glass of wine and something Italian, but can't really muster up the patience to wait for pasta water to boil.

You can substitute canned beans if you don't mind them clumping and mushing a bit (which affects looks more than taste) -- just be sure to rinse and dry them well first, and handle them a bit more gingerly than their less-overcooked homegrown cousins. 

Olive oil
2 cups cooked cannellini beans, very well drained (pat dry with a paper towel if necessary)
1 clove garlic, slivered
A big bunch of chard, sliced crosswise
4 small (2" round), ripe, fragrant tomatoes, cored and cut into large bite-sized pieces
Fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons (about 2 tbsp)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a wide saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. When hot enough that a drop of water evaporates immediately, add a generous glug of olive oil. Wait about 15 more seconds to let the oil heat, then add the cannellini beans. Shake the pan so that the beans spread out in a single layer. Toast for 2-3 minutes until they turn lightly golden, then shake the pan again to turn them. Continue for another couple minutes until the beans are golden on multiple sides.

Add the garlic and a bit more olive oil and stir once or twice. After about 20 seconds, add the chard and a pinch of salt (as always, go easy on the salt if your beans are already salted). Saute, stirring occasionally, until the greens wilt and the stems are just cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and stir gently to combine. Cook for only about a minute more (you basically just want to warm the tomatoes), add the basil, and turn off the heat. Sprinkle in the parmesan and a generous grinding of black pepper, stir well, and serve.

Serves 2.


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