Finally, a challenge that I didn’t completely miss! After missing out on Dark Days 2011 and the 2010 Can Jam, I came across the 2011 Spice Rack Challenge. Hosted by Mother’s Kitchen, essentially the challenge is to use a particular spice/herb in one dish per month. Very doable – and helps clean out the pantry and explore new recipes? I am totally in.
This month’s challenge is rosemary. I love rosemary, but it can be a little strong for some people. I like this recipe because its subtle, and doesn’t require a large amount. Probably a good thing because my fresh rosemary is down to two sprigs!
I made this recipe last month, and while its very good I wanted to tweak it a little. Unlike other recipes, Martha I think hit it out of the park on the flavors of this one.
Rosemary Tomato Cannelini Beans
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Stewed White Beans with Tomatoes and Rosemary
one can (15.5oz) cannelini beans
finishing extra virgin olive oil
fresh grated parmesano reggiano
one large sprig rosemary
salt, pepper, garlic to taste
Drain and rinse the beans. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your pan and add beans. Fry for approximately 5-10 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from pot.
Add tomatoes – I used home-canned puree. I then take the back of a chef’s knife and smack the sprig of rosemary a few times. Really – its stress relief! Don’t chop it – just break it up enough until you can smell the rosemary. Add rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in the pot and reduce until desired consistency – anywhere from half an hour to simmering all day. I put mine on the stove for a few hours. If it reduces too far, add a little water and cook for another minute or two.
At that point, add the beans, and remove the rosemary. Serve with freshly grated parmesano reggiano and a drizzle of olive oil. And please, please use real parmesan – that fake stuff in a can isn’t worthy of this recipe.
1. Change the beans. I used canned cannelini beans, which are always in my pantry. Please use the beans of your choice – some heirloom Rancho Gordo beans would be lovely.
2. Change the tomatoes. I used tomato puree – because that’s what I had – but you can also use whole or diced or even tomato sauce. I think a bit of tomato paste for richness couldn’t hurt, either.
3. You can certainly chop the rosemary and add in, I dont mind a few large bits of rosemary. You could always use an immersion blender to puree it if it bothers you, or infuse the sauce with rosemary/other herbs in cheesecloth, or mince the rosemary before adding it.
4. I liked the flavors in Martha’s recipe, but it was a bit lacking in texture for me. So I started this version by draining and rinsing the cannelini beans and frying them in olive oil. It makes them slightly crispy and I think really makes this dish. Please feel free to go back to the original if you’d rather not.
5. If you live with a die hard carnivore, this recipe would be great over pasta with pork or chicken. Italian style sausage, grilled chicken or even chicken sausage would be great. I like to keep it vegetarian, served with crusty bread to sop up the sauce. This time, I added some chopped Rainbow Chard for some greens.
6. Spice it up! Some red chili flake in the olive oil when frying the beans would be awesome. For a less potent kick, add it with the tomatoes.