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Beans as Birds - Fagioli all'Uccelletto

Serves 4-5

400 g / 14 oz of dry cannellini beans

400 g / 14 oz tinned tomatoes or 4-5 very ripe tomatoes

1 sprig of rosemary

3 sprigs of fresh sage

5 garlic cloves

6 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

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An archetypical Tuscan dish, Fagioli all`uccelletto are easy to prepare and absolutely tasty - great comfort food! We prepare it with cannellini beans, a white variety of beans, a bit elongated and not too big.

We can only guess at the origin of the peculiar name of this dish... As the father of the Italian cuisine, Pellegrino Artusi, hypothesized, the name might derive from the fact that in the old days birds were cooked with the same kind of seasoning - sage, garlic and tomatoes.

Soak the cannellini beans for at least 24 hours. Rinse them, drain them and place them in a pan with enough water to cover them well, 1 peeled garlic clove, 1 sprig of rosemary and a pinch of salt. Bring quickly to the boil and then simmer, half-covered, for about 1 hour or until cooked but not overcooked. If needed, add some additional hot water to keep the beans covered during cooking. When the beans are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the rosemary sprig and garlic clove.

In a different pan, place the oil, sage and 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in two lengthwise. Fry gently, mixing often, until the garlic is golden and the sage is withered (do not burn them!). Then, add the tinned tomatoes, crushed. If you use fresh tomatoes, chop them in small pieces. Simmer this sauce for about 15 minutes, then add the drained beans and a couple of ladles of their water to the pan. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste, cover and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

This dish can be served as a vegetarian secondo, accompanied with slices of toasted rustic bread, or as a side dish for boiled meats or sausages.

A recipe from  

Ada Cooks Italy