Tuscan Red Bean
If you love red beans, you'll want to grab a bag of these sturdy yet incredibly creamy heirlooms grown on the West Coast from Italian seed stock.
Grown for centuries in the region of Lucca, these fabled beans are eaten in the walled city, often smothered in the best Tuscan olive oil as a side dish for meat or fish. They also find their way into Zuppa di Farro, the local version of the famous soup found in home kitchens all over Italy, and of course, you'll love them in Pasta e Fagioli.
They look somewhat like a borlotto bean (cranberry bean) dipped in hibiscus tea, and it would be easy to make the mistake of thinking they were similar to Borlotti, a mistake we've been making for years. They are a red bean, maybe the closest thing we offer to a kidney bean, but these are so superior to "kidney beans" that we're hesitant to make the comparison.
Our seed stock comes from Italy, but we are not calling them Rosso di Lucca out of respect for the local farmers in Tuscany. The beans are the same, but the terroir justifies a different, unique name.
Minestrone and other stews, chili, pasta e fagioli, pot beans, Zuppa di Farro (Farro Soup), Fagioli all'Ucceletto (in a tomato broth), and other soups. Also as a side dish with ample amounts of extra virgin olive oil.
From the Rancho Gordo Kitchen
In Tuscany, they serve these beans as a side dish, with a giant bottle of olive oil alongside for dousing the beans. We like them in "beans and greens," with sauteed greens, garlic, and olive oil. Because they are firm and hold their shape, they make a wonderful addition to chilis, soups, and salads.
Check beans for debris, and rinse thoroughly. In a large pot, sauté aromatic vegetables (onions, garlic, celery, carrot, etc.) in olive oil. Add beans and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a full boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, using a lid to help regulate the heat, and gently cook until done, 1 to 3 hours. Salt when the beans start to soften. A pre-soak of 2 to 6 hours will lessen the cooking time.
Domingo Rojo, Red Kidney
Country of origin