Ingredients for 6 people:200 g dried Cannellini beans (or another type of your choice)6 slices homemade Tuscan bread5 tbsp “ Olio Novo” (“new” extra virgin olive oil)3-4 cloves of garlic2-3 fresh sage leaves1 sprig rosemary black peppercorns and ground black pepper salt
White, thin-skinned Cannellini are the type of beans that Tuscans love – and cook – most. The “rules” for cooking them, contained in the recipe, are in any case valid for all varieties of beans.
The evening before, put the beans in a bowl to soak, making sure they’re completely covered with cold water. The following morning, after 8-10 hours of soaking, strain them and tip them into a saucepan (or if possible a terracotta pot) adding enough fresh, cold water to just cover them. It’s best to add more afterwards, while they’re cooking, a little at a time and hot, if necessary. Also put in the saucepan 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, the sage leaves, a small pinch of salt and a few slightly crushed peppercorns. Put the lid on and cook over a very low heat: the water must only just move, simmering without boiling. Remove any froth that may form on the surface. When the beans are almost cooked, taste them and add salt if necessary. The small amount of salt at the beginning is needed to prevent the skins from thickening and let the beans’ “soul” (the inside) become more flavoursome. It will take about an hour for them to cook: taste them, the skin should be almost imperceptible but they should, all the same, remain whole and have the right consistency. Turn off the heat and leave them to cool down in the saucepan.
In the meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, lightly sauté 1 crushed clove of garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When it begins to brown, remove it, tip in the beans (previously drained of their water) and rosemary leaves, add a good sprinkling of pepper and, if required, season with salt. Stir everything together, leave the pan over the heat for another 30 seconds and then turn it off.
Toast the slices of bread (even over an open fire) and, if you like, rub them with a little garlic. Place them on a serving dish, put a good portion of beans on each one and drizzle a little “Olio Novo” on top.