This recipe for braised borlotti beans and cipolline is my take on classic baked beans. The cipolline impart a lovely mild sweetness to the beans, and the balsamic vinegar stirred in at the end perks up the whole dish. This is wonderful spread on crusty bread. It would also be great with cranberry or cannellini beans. —arielleclementine
Sort through the beans and discard any stones. Put beans in a medium bowl and cover with cold water to cover by at least two inches. Cover with plastic wrap and soak overnight.
Drain beans, rinse, and place in a large pot along with the onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and salt, and add enough fresh water to cover the beans by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until a bean mashes easily between your fingers, about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let the beans cool a bit and absorb more of the cooking liquid.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large dutch oven over medium heat add the olive oil and diced pancetta. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and brown, then remove with a slotted spoon. Add the peeled cipolline to the pan and saute, stirring occassionally, until the onions are well browned on all sides, about 12-15 minutes. Add the beans, pancetta, and sage to the cipolline and pour in enough of the bean cooking liquid to come just below the top of the beans (about 2 cups). Bring to a simmer and then transfer to the oven.
Bake, uncovered for 2 hours. Check the pot periodically to make sure the mixture is bubbling softly, and add more liquid if the level falls more than 1/2 an inch below the surface of the beans.
Remove from the oven and stir in the chopped parsley and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with good crusty bread.
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).