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Cannellini Beans With Fettuccine And Sage - ...


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  • 1 cup dried cannellini beans
  • 3 cups water for soaking beans then
  • fresh water for cooking them
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red Spanish onion diced
  • 1/3 pound chunk of pancetta diced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • Grated Pecorino cheese for sprinkling


Servings 4


Step 1

Soak the beans overnight in 3 cups of cold water. Next day, drain the beans, which will have swelled in size, and place them in a 2-quart saucepan and cover them with fresh cold water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook the beans until a knife is easily inserted into them. Do not overcook the beans or they will split and disintegrate in the water. Drain and set aside.

In a saute pan, heat 1/3 cup of the olive oil. Stir in the onions and pancetta and saute until the onions are soft and the pancetta is browned. Stir in the sage and saute, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beans and stir them gently to coat them with the oil and sage. Season with the salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside while the fettuccine is cooking.

Cook the fettuccine in 4 to 6 quarts of rapidly boiling water to which 1 tablespoon of salt has been added. Cook just until the fettuccine is al dente, meaning that the fettuccine is cooked through, retains its shape, and is still firm, not mushy. Drain the fettuccine into a strainer and add it with the reserved cooking water directly to the saute pan. Stir in the remaining olive oil and quickly reheat the mixture, stirring constantly until hot. Transfer the mixture to a serving platter and serve at once. Pass grated Pecorino cheese on the side.

Note: Do not be alarmed at the amount of olive oil used in this recipe. The beans absorb a lot of it so if you want to cut down on the amount of oil, remember that the dish will be drier in taste.

Did you know that Tuscans have Central America to thank for introducing cannellini beans into Italy? Beans were imported to Italy in the sixteenth century. Look for these beans under the name of white kidney or Great Northern beans.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.

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