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Entries in Rancho Gordo beans (2)

Thursday
Apr302009

Meatless Meals: Tomatoes Stuffed with Tuna and Cellini Beans

Although we certainly are carnivores in my family, I love to eat meatless meals and try to eat about three dinners a week without any meat.  For those interested in the health and environmental benefits of eating less meat, you can read books  by Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan, who both still enjoy an occasional steak.  On our weekly pizza night, I always fix a vegetarian pizza for myself (with maybe some good anchovies).  I try to fix at least one or two seafood/fish dinners a week and I love to make meatless pasta dishes. But one of the best meals you can fix for dinner involves that super food: beans. It's a high quality protein that is very cheap with no animal fat and lots of fiber. I get my beans these days mostly from Rancho Gordo, that wonderful farm out in Napa Valley run by Steve Sando. He grows the most high quality, fresh beans you will ever taste. You certainly can used canned beans and they are fine, but try buying some great quality dried beans sometime.   They are still so much cheaper than buying meat.  He has some wonderful varieties that you will never find in the grocery store.  For this recipe, I used cellini.  You really can use any bean you like.  

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Thursday
Sep182008

Tuscan Bean Soup


This is a traditional Tuscan dish made with farro and beans, both staples in Tuscan cooking. This soup is really hearty and paired along with a salad, is a complete meal. The beans, of course, are high in protein but so is the farro, making this dish a great vegetarian meal. Farro is an ancient grain that has been used in Italy forever. It's similar to spelt. It has a great nutty flavor.

The beans I've used are the best beans you can buy. Never heard of Rancho Gordo? You should check them out. This guy lives in Napa Valley and produces heirloom beans that are really outstanding. He has all kinds of beans from yellow beans and pinto beans to hard to find beans such as Christmas lima beans and flageolet beans. And if you think you've had good black beans, try his black turtle beans. You've never tasted such great black beans. I make vegetarian tacos with them and never miss the meat.

Tuscan Bean Soup

for a recipe only to print, click here

serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup diced carrot
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1.5 cups dried white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern, soaked in water overnight
  • 6 cups Chicken Stock
  • 15 ounce can plum tomatoes, San Marzano preferably
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 cup farro
  • Olive Oil for drizzling
  • Grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano for grating or shaving for garnish

 

 

Instructions:

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the vegetables and garlic and saute slowly, about 7-8 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pot with the stock. Break up the tomatoes a little with a spoon (I use my fingers) and add to the pot with the rosemary. Raise the heat a little and bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until all the beans are tender, about one hour. Discard the rosemary.

Meanwhile, cook the farro in a small saucepan with water to cover and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Take an immersion blender (please get one if you don't have one and save yourself a lot of trouble) and insert into the soup and puree. I like to puree it just until it's thick and you have some small chunks of the bean left, not until it's perfectly smooth. You can puree further if you like. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, blend and then transfer back to the pot. Add the farro and reheat gently.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and shave Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese on top. Serve immediately.

You can buy farro here

For my recipe for Farro Salad (one of my favorites) click here