White Bean Purée

Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer

Bean purées can be made more or less sloppy depending on whether the final result is to be a soup, served hot or cold with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, or, as here, to be thick enough to be spread on bread before being placed under the broiler.

Ingredients: 
  • 6 ounces dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight (See note)*
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup hot Brodo (vegetable broth or stock)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  •  
  • *NOTE: Since 1 pound of beans will give you roughly the same amount as 3 15-ounce cans of beans, or about 5 cups, if you want to use canned beans, this recipe will call for one and a half 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, or 22-23 ounces of canned beans.
Instructions: 

(Start here if you are using dried beans)

  1. Rinse the soaked beans, then put them in a large saucepan with the water and add the tomato paste and a scant pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the head and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. The beans should be covered with water for the first 1½ hours. When the beans are tender almost all of the water should have been absorbed. (Start here if you are using canned beans)
  2. Purée the beans in a food processor.
  3. Sauté the garlic and rosemary in a little olive oil. Add the purée and mix well. Pour in the hot stock and stir over heat until thoroughly absorbed. The purée should now be smooth, thick and shiny. Add extra oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve the purée on toasted, dense bread and warm in the oven for 10 minutes or place under the broiler until golden, if desired. The purée keeps well, refrigerated in a covered container, for several days.

Recipe adapted from Tuscan Cookbook by Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer.

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