Baked Navy Beans with Pancetta

January 16, 2017
3 Ratings
Photo by Vicky | Things I Made Today
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Navy beans mixed with pancetta and some aromatics, sprinkled with cheese and breadcrumbs and baked until they’re crispy —Vicky | Things I Made Today

What You'll Need
  • For the beans:
  • 1 cup dry navy beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • For the rest:
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup gruyere cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Drain soaked beans and place into a large heavy saucepan. Add ½ onion, Parmesan rind, whole garlic cloves, bay leaf, and salt. Add water and cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are soft and tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook pancetta until the fat is rendered and it starts to get crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  3. Add thinly sliced onion, minced garlic, and shallot to pan. Cook on medium until onions have started to caramelize, adding additional olive oil if needed, about 10 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until liquid mostly evaporates. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. Drain beans, reserving about 1 cup liquid, and remove Parmesan rind and bay leaf. In a large bowl, combine beans, pancetta, cooked onions and shallot, thyme, gruyere, freshly ground black pepper, and reserved cooking liquid. Stir until combined, then transfer to a 9 by 5 inch bread pan or equivalent.
  6. Mix breadcrumbs with olive oil and sprinkle on top of beans. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is a nice golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

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1 Review

gretchen September 12, 2017
I found this recipe after I had boiled up some navy beans with no recipe in mind. Am I ever glad I did! It was a cross between mac n cheese and potatoes au gratin, only with beans. Very tasty and satisfying side dish. I used bacon instead of pancetta, didn't have any shallots, used regular swiss cheese and added some parm cheese to the panko topping. I neglected to season the beans as they cooked, other than with salt and a bay leaf thrown in at the end. Doing so would have made a much more complex flavor in the finished dish. A little hot sauce on top when eating would be a great addition.