Wednesday, June 17, 2009

are you a mangiafagioli?

i am. mangiafagioli means bean eater in italian. this is how most of italy refers to the tuscans because so many traditional dishes in tuscany use beans as a main ingredient. o.k...i live in napa but...since i am half italian...and eat tons of beans....i think the term applies. and it just sounds cool...say it...mangiafagioli.
sounds good, right?

i told you a few posts ago how much i love cooking with beans in the story fresh or canned?...and provided a few ideas along with the recipe for my baked beans which calls for canned beans. i was wandering through the local farmer's market last week and spied fresh, dried pinto beans in a large bushel basket and dried garbanzo beans in another. i bought a bagful of each. now, i know that "fresh, dried" sounds a bit odd. what i mean is beans that have very recently been picked and dried. if you are used to dried beans from the grocery store, this will rock your world. you never know how old the beans are when you purchase them from large chains. i find that the older the beans are the tougher they matter how long you soak them. freshly dried beans are tender and just taste better. they don't require as much soaking time but... since i use the "soak overnight" method...this doesn't really matter to me....the better taste does.

i find beans incredibly versatile...and add them to soups, stews, rice dishes and pasta all the time. so i soaked and cooked the garbanzo beans...then sautéed onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil, added fresh sage leaves and the garbanzos along with grey salt and freshly cracked pepper...tossed the mixture with pasta and served with shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese....delicious.

i decided to make a big pot of pinto beans last saturday because i could use them in a number of recipes this week and.... because i also had bought cavalo nero which is a black italian kale...i decided to create a beans & greens dish.

i served the beans the first night with a green salad and fresh warm tortillas and grilled a steak for peter. what a terrific dinner. a couple of nights later, i created our version of chili mac...heating up a couple of cups of beans...along with plenty of the bean gravy (the liquid that is created with the beans), added some cooked pasta...i used fusilli...and a couple handfuls of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, stirred until the cheese was melted and sprinkled chopped green onions on top....really, really good. last night, i poached a couple of eggs and served them on top of heated up beans...roasted some potatoes...and had brunch for dinner.

see what i mean by versatile?....and i didn't even count making burritos :)
napa farmhouse 1885 beans and greens
4 cups dried pinto beans
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 bunch cavalo nero, stems trimmed and greens chopped into bite sized pieces (if not available, any swiss chard will work)
extra virgin olive oil
8 cups water
1 cup tomato sauce (i use leftover marinara if i have it)
4 tbsp farmhouse organic rub (or 3 tbsp chili powder and 1 tbsp dried oregano)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
1 canned chipotle pepper, minced
1 tsp-1 tbsp adobo sauce (to taste...amount depends on how spicy you like your food)
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

place dry beans in large pot...cover with water to equal 2 x amount of beans. allow to soak overnight.

next day, drain beans and set aside. sauté onion, garlic, carrot and cavalo nero in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil until onion is translucent. add beans and rest of ingredients except the salt & pepper. bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. when boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for approx. 1 hour. add extra water if necessary. beans should mash easily when pressed with the back of a spoon. add salt and pepper to taste. serve as is...or follow one of the suggestions listed above. beans can be kept in refrigerator for a few days...or frozen for up to three months...

do you have favorite recipes for beans? please share them in the comments section of this post...or just tell me your favorite way to eat/prepare..fresh or canned beans...
have a good week!
diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style"™
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Rachelle said...

Mmmm! This recipe looks so good I can almost smell it. This definitely goes on my "to make" list.

Julie said...

You make beans sound so good. I never think of them when I am planning meals. I am going to give a number of your bean recipes a try.

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi rachelle..thank you for the kind words. let me know if you try the beans!!!


Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi julie...yes, as you can tell, i do eat a lot of beans! they are really easy to make...and can be used in so many ways....give them a try!


Jennifer said...

Hi Diane, I just wanted to let you know that you solved my Father's Day menu dilemma. I was not sure what to make. Now I have decided on grilled steak, salad and your beans.

Thank you for the idea. My Dad and Husband will love this dinner.

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

oh cool...enjoy your father's day holiday...and please let me know how the meal turns out...