Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And Then There Was Quiet...

I am always a little sad when house guests leave. The quiet is disarming and the mess is never as fun to clean up as it was to make.

In spite of the fact that I should be craving fruits and veggies to get my body back on the healthy track, there is a tiny part of me that wants comfort food. Food that is cozy and warm and helps create the goodness you feel when dear friends are around. Food like the blistering hot bowl of white beans that were served to us at a boozy and chattery dinner over the weekend at the restaurant A-16.

Luckily, I found the recipe today.

Braised Cannellini Beans with Garlic, Marjoram, and Oregano
2 cups dried cannellini beans
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted

Rinse the beans well in a colander, picking out any broken beans or debris. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plenty of cool water, and soak for at least two hours.
Drain the beans, transfer to a 3 quart pot and add water to cover the beans by one to two inches. Place the beans over high heat and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Adjust the heat to a slow simmer and cook uncovered, skimming as needed, for two hours or until tender, adding water as needed.
Remove from heat, stir in the salt, and let the beans stand in the cooking liquid for 30 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 3/4 cup of cooking liquid.
In another pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and the oregano and cook for three minutes, or until the garlic begins to soften. Stir in the beans and the 3/4 cup cooking liquid and simmer, stirring gently, for about four minutes or until the beans achieve a creamy consistency. The beans should not be as thick as mashed potatoes, but they should hold their shape. If the beans are too thick, stir in a little water and continue to cook. Stir in the marjoram, taste for seasoning, and add more salt if needed. Remove from heat. At this point the beans can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to one week. Re-heat before serving.
To serve, pour the beans into a warmed serving bowl. Top with bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil to finish. Serve immediately.
Serves 6
Recipe from the new A-16 cookbook.

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