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Marcella Beans with Green Garlic and Parsley Pistou

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Italian Vegetarian White Beans

Cooked white Marcella beans in a serving bowl with leeks and parsley pistou

This recipe comes from our neighbors here in Napa, Stevie and Josiah of Bay Grape Wine, a specialty wine shop that makes wine fun without being inane or insulting your intelligence. They are proud Bean Club members and we appreciate them sharing this recipe with us.

  • 1 pound uncooked Marcella beans (can also use Cassoulet, Alubia Blanca, or basically any white bean...even Flageolet)
  • Any general aromatics you like for cooking the beans (I usually go with 1 piece kombu, 1 or 2 carrots, 1 or 2 stalks of celery, the dark green trimmings from 2 leeks, and 2 bay leaves)
  • 1 or 2 Parmesan rinds
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and washed thoroughly, then thinly sliced into half-circles
  • 2 to 3 stalks green garlic, both white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • Zest of ½ to 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4 to 6

  1. In a big pot, combine the beans with your aromatics of choice, plus the Parmesan rinds, rosemary, and thyme. Add water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer. When the beans are gorgeously soft and silky and you have a slightly soupy/stewy amount of bean cooking liquid left-over, turn the heat way down or completely off. Fish out and discard your aromatics, Parm rinds, and woody herb sticks.
  2. Now salt the beans to taste. I generally find that right after adding salt I can check the saltiness of the bean liquid. That level of saltiness will soon infuse into the beans, so I just go by taste here. I also add a more-than-most-people-would-think-appropriate amount of fresh, coarsely ground black pepper.
  3. In a saute pan over medium-low heat, sweat the leeks and green garlic in a generous amount of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Be careful the heat doesn't get too high, or they will burn easily! You want to cook them for 10 to 20 minutes until they're all melty-like.
  4. In a food processor or blender, blitz the parsley, lemon zest, salt and more black pepper (basically with those last 3 ingredients to taste!) with a generous amount of olive oil. You can also just finely chop the whole show and whisk it together with some olive oil.
  5. Immediately before serving, warm the beans, and then stir your melted leeks and green garlic with the pistou right into the beans.  Serve with crusty bread for sopping up juicy bits, and a green salad dressed simply with a lemon-juice vinaigrette. AND WINE....Verdicchio or Nebbiolo, depending on your mood.


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