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Fagioli al pomodoro - Baked Beans

Ingredients:

Serves 8

  • 400g dried cannellini beans
  • 45ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 medium sized red onions, finely choppped
  • 150g thinly sliced pancetta cut into small pieces (smoked, streaky bacon can be used as a substitute)
  • 30ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g cans good quality finely chopped tomatoes or passata
  • 200ml water

Method:

  1. Soak the beans overnight or for 12 hours.
  2. Strain and rinse the beans, place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook for around 1 hour until they are tender.
  3. Drain the beans and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and add a knob of butter.
  5. Turn down the heat and place the whole garlic cloves into the saucepan. Cook gently for around 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Once the garlic cloves are a deep golden brown all over, remove them and discard.
  6. Add the chopped onions and fry gently for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the pancetta or bacon pieces, turn up the heat slightly, and cook until the they are slightly brown, usually around 10 minutes.
  8. Stir in the red wine vinegar, closely followed by the tomatoes or passata.
  9. Bring to the boil and then add 200ml water.
  10. Once the liquid has boiled, pour in the beans, turn down the heat and simmer for around 2 hours. Stir occasionally and if the bean mixture should start to dry out add a little more water.
  11. Serve immediately, on toast, with a little cheese grated on top if you like.

Notes:

This recipe is for 8 people as it is not worth making small batches of these delicious baked beans. Eat what you want and then the rest can be frozen for up to three months. Remember to defrost them thoroughly when you take them out of the freezer at a later date.
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