In a recent New York Times article, Mark Bittman gave some suggestions on how to use dried white beans (fagioli):
If you’re not sold, try this: soak and cook a pound of white beans. Take some and finish with fresh chopped sage, garlic and good olive oil. Purée another cup or so with a boiled potato and lots of garlic...
I immediately liked the idea of beans puréed with potatoes, so I followed his advice, using half a cup of dried cannellini beans I had soaked overnight and cooked with a different plan in mind (for which I should have taken them off the heat a couple of minutes earlier than I did).
I boiled a potato (patata) and mashed it with a potato masher (schiacciapatate), while I used the food processor to purée the beans and garlic (aglio). "Lots" as applied to garlic (and to pretty much anything) is a rather personal measurement: I used a section of a garlic head that included 7-8 cloves (spicchi). I was baking an acorn squash at 375 F, so I decided to roast the garlic, unpeeled, wrapped in foil, until soft, then peeled and finally added it to the beans.
After I mixed everything, I decided that the purée was too pale, so I roasted a red bell pepper (peperone rosso), let it cool in a paper bag, peeled it, ran it through the food processor briefly and added it to the bean mix. A few leaves of parsley (prezzemolo), chopped, lent additional color and then a bit of freshly-squeezed lemon juice added some tang. Salt and pepper to taste, and voilà, something nice to spread on bread, or eat with another accompaniment.
After tasting it, I can say that questo purè di cannellini mi va a fagiolo (I like this cannellini bean purée very much), to use a nice Italian expression that references beans.
This is my contribution to My Legume Love Affair - Eighth Helping, the popular, legume-centered event that is the brainchild of Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, hosted this month by the creator herself.
On this page you will find the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the purè di cannellini audio file [mp3].