Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew was featured recently on America's Test Kitchen. I love this show. It is all about experimenting and testing to find the best recipe possible. I had been looking for the perfect recipe for some cannellini beans purchased at Campo de' Fiori and decided to give it a try. Plan ahead because the beans are soaked overnight in a brine solution. This is the first recipe I have tried from the show, but it will not be the last. The stew was hearty and very tasty. Next time, I will add more tomatoes for my personal taste.
Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew
4 quarts water
3 tablespoons salt
1 pound dried cannellini beans
6 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale (about 1 pound), stems removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 2 quarts cold water. Add beans and soak at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse well.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil and pancetta . Cook until pancetta is lightly browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Add vegetables and cook until they are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minutes. Add broth, water, bay leaves and beans. Increase temperature to high and bring to a simmer. Cover pot and transfer to oven and cook until beans are almost tender (center of bean will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove pot from over and add greens and tomatoes. Return to oven and cook until beans and greens are tender, 30 - 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and add rosemary sprig. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. To serve, drizzle with olive oil. Serves 8.