Don't let the lack of color put you off: White beans pack a lot of flavor in their pale skins.
The other night my husband and I were talking about beans. With all the different varieties, which were our favorites? I decided my favorite were white beans, of any type. (My least favorite? Black eyed peas.)
But I'm often at a loss when I try to think of a new way to cook white beans. Sometimes, the simple ways are the best.
So I didn't follow a recipe and just improvised, after soaking half a package of dried navy beans (which are not, you may have noticed, blue). Any white bean would work, especially cannellini or Great Northern beans. Although I used only half a package, you might want to double the recipe and use the whole package of dried beans—I only recently realized I didn't have to cook way more beans than my small family can eat at one sitting just because dried beans come in 1 lb or 1 kg packages.
Plus, the smaller serving gave me a chance to use my new soup stock pot, a smaller pot than the 8 qt Dutch oven I usually cook beans in.
I had a package of orecchiette pasta, so named because it's shaped like little ears. But don't let that slightly cannabalistic image scare you off; the little shapes are perfect for scooping up the bean juice.
For a printable recipe, go here; otherwise, keep reading.
For more recipes with white beans:
French White Bean Soup
White Beans with Seitan Sausage
Grilled Vegetables with Mashed White Beans
Kale and White Bean Soup
Risotto Rice and Cannellini Bean Soup
Tuscan Kale with Cannellini Beans and Polenta Points
Swiss Chard and White Beans over Penne
Baked White Bean and Rosemary Spread with Fococcia
Pasta e Fagioli
Gigante Beans with Polenta (my favorite bean dish!)
I had no idea I'd made white beans so often!
White Beans with Orecchiette Pasta
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons tarragon, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 lb orecchiette pasta, or pasta of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
Soak the dried beans overnight or for 6-8 hours. Rinse and cover with fresh salted water in a medium sized stock pot or sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 - 1 ½ hours, adding water if necessary.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the chopped onion, carrot and dried rosemary; sauté for 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the contents of the skillet to the pot of beans, along with the bay leaf and the tarragon. When the beans are almost done (test for doneness periodically) add the parsley.
Cook the pasta in time to serve with the beans. Ladle the beans over the pasta. Add salt and pepper if necessary. You might also want to add a glug of olive oil to the bowl/plate of beans.