- 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
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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. To Finish the Beans
- Coat a large, straight-sided sauté pan with olive oil and toss in the pancetta. Cook until brown and crispy, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, or until very aromatic.
- 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.