Italian White Beans With Pancetta
Reprinted with Permission. From Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. By Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. Copyright 2005. Harvard Common Press.
- Servings: 4.
This simple recipe is from the wonderful Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook and it is a flavorful example of how beans and slow cookers are a perfect match. They call for a "few" slices of bacon; I use 4 to 6, depending on how thick they are.
The authors write that "this type of recipe typifies the ingenuity of simple country cooking." We can add that it equally has country cooking's memorable flavors.
This recipe requires that the beans be pre-soaked for up to 12 hours so plan ahead when making this recipe.
- 1 heaping cup dried cannellini beans
- A few slices of pancetta or prosciutto, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 shallots, halved
- 1 medium-size carrot, quartered
- 2 ribs celery, halved
- 1 bay leaf
- Sprig of fresh thyme or savory
- One 15-ounce can chicken broth
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, such as Chabis or Montrachet, crumbled
- 1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives, or your choice, drained
- Put the beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water; pick over for damaged beans and small stones. Transfer to the slow cooker and cover by 3 inches with cold water. Soak for 6 to 12 hours, drain and add back tot he cooker.
- In a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta in the olive oil, stirring, for 8 minutes.
- Add the shallots, carrot, and celery; cook, stirring, until just softened.
- Transfer the mixture to the beans in the cooker along with the bay leaf and herb sprig. Add the broth and enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. The beans need to be covered with liquid at all times to cook properly. Towards the end of cooking, season with salt and pepper.
- When done, the beans will be tender and hold their shape, rather than fall apart. Remove the bay leaf and herb sprig and discard.
Serve the beans in soup bowls, topped with the crumbled goat cheese and sliced olives.