I have been away from Sydney for about five months now which means I have been deprived of my mother’s cooking for five whole months! Thankfully she is sweet enough to respond to my email requests for recipes that she has cooked for my sister and I in the past.
This dish is something she whipped together whilst we were on holidays down at Gerroa. She made this in a huge whopping dish, I think with the hope to spread it over two dinners. However, it was so good, we literally could not stop eating it and despite growing fullness pains, we managed to eat the whole dish. How could I not recreate this for my beans series?
The cannellini beans I used for this dish, I started from scratch. I soaked them overnight and was amazed at the transformation they undertook. After about five hours, they became wrinkly and funny looking. Then, the next morning they were almost double their original size and smooth – incredible! Next, I simmered them for about 1 hour and 45 minutes until they were soft. Only then could I include them in my dish. No doubt they were lovely and wholesome but very time consuming. So certainly, feel free to use canned cannellini beans (I probably will next time as well…).
Cannellini beans are full of nutrients and a great bean to include in any soup, stew or casserole, especially ones with Italian flavours. They are low in fat, high in fibre and apparently have twice as much iron as beef!! Bingo! Whatever you do with this dish, make sure you make it large, because you’ll want there to be seconds!
Baked cannellini beans with potatoes and parmesan
(Preparation time: 10 minutes, cooking time: 30 minutes)
2 potatoes, washed and cut into thin slices
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
½ cup of vegetable stock (if needed)
2 cups of cannellini beans (soaked overnight and precooked or canned)
2 handfuls of chopped basil
1 handful of parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to season
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Begin by cooking your potato slices, they will need about 10 minutes in boiled water or until they are slightly tender. Drain and put aside.
Next, on a low-medium heat, fry the onions in a good amount of olive oil. Once they start softening after 5 minutes or so add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the canned tomatoes and let this simmer for a few minutes. Add the cannellini beans, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes minutes. Add ½ cup of vegetable stock (or the potato water) if you need extra liquid.
Once the potatoes and your tomato/bean mix are ready, start to assemble your dish. A good lasagne dish will work (which I didn’t have so ignore my mini casserole dish). Layer your bean mix and slices of potato sprinkling with the remaining basil and parmesan in between each layer. Your finishing layer should be the bean mix, a generous sprinkle of basil and parmesan and a seasoning of pepper and salt.
Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until your bake is bubbling and golden on top. Enjoy with a fresh slice of bread or with a salad.