In Tuscany, slowly simmered, simply seasoned beans are sometimes served as a lunchtime main course. For an even heartier vegetarian dish, top these savory beans with poached eggs. Round out the menu with a salad of bitter greens dressed with a tart vinaigrette.
White Beans with Lemon and Rosemary
1 lb. (500 g) dried cannellini or Great Northern beans
9 garlic cloves, 6 left whole and 3 minced
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 lemons, each cut into 6 wedges
Pick over the beans, removing any misshapen beans or grit. Rinse under cold running water. Put the beans in a large bowl, add cold water to cover by at least 2 inches (5 cm), and let stand at room temperature overnight. Alternatively, for a quick soak, put the beans in a large pot, add water to cover by at least 2 inches, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans. Bring a large kettle filled with water to a boil.
Transfer the beans to the slow cooker. Bury the whole garlic cloves and the rosemary sprig in the beans. Add boiling water to cover the beans by 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The beans should be very tender.
Just before serving, in a small fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until hot. Add the minced garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not allow to brown. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Drain the beans, discarding the liquid, then remove and discard the rosemary sprig. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Spoon the beans onto individual plates. Drizzle with the warm garlic oil, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately, passing the lemon wedges at the table. Serves 6 to 8.
Learn to make the most of your slow cooker with this and other inspiring
recipes in our Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.