Cannellini beans with pancetta & rosemary recipe


  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


For Cooking the Beans
  • 1 pound cannellini beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, cut in half, skin removed, hairy end left on to keep it in one piece
  • 1 large or two small carrots
  • 2 celery ribs, broken in half
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 thyme bundle, tied with butcher’s twine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 piece slab bacon skin, prosciutto skin, or a couple slices of bacon
  • Kosher salt
For the Finishing the Beans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
How to Make It
    To Cook the Beans
  1. Drain the beans, put them in a large pot, and cover them with water by at least 2 inches. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme bundle, bay leaves, and bacon skin.
  2. Bring the pot to a boil (BTB) and reduce to a simmer (RTS); cook for about 1 hour or until ALL the beans are soft, adding more water if it reduces too quickly. To test the beans for doneness, do the 5-Bean Test: Bite into five beans; if they are all soft, then the pot is done. (Beans do not all cook at the same rate, so tasting at least five is important.)
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, season the water generously with salt, and let sit for 15 minutes. If you’re using them right away, strain the beans, reserving at least 1 cup of their cooking liquid. If not using them immediately, refrigerate them in their liquid.
  4. To Finish the Beans
  5. Coat a large, straight-sided sauté pan with olive oil and toss in the pancetta. Cook until brown and crispy, 7 to 8 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until very aromatic.
  7. Add the beans and the reserved bean water (if you didn’t remember to save the bean water, use 1 cup chicken stock or water). Cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Taste and season with salt if needed.

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