Basil-parmesan pot beans (~4 servings)

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I made this recipe from the Kitchn for the first time a few months ago, but I've been waiting to post it until the weather turned cooler. Pot beans (they'll get you high on deliciousness!) are slow-cooked beans that simmer for several hours before they become plump, flavorful, and deeply comforting. This version is distinctly Italian-influenced, but I'm sure the flavors could be switched up to suit any number of tastes. It's a fairly time-consuming recipe, as it requires a few hours of prep, but it's not labor-intensive at all. Most of the time is taken up by just waiting for the beans to soak or cook!

You will need:

  • 2 cups dried beans (it's been so long that I can't even remember what I used, but I think they were flageolet)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • 1 cup loosely-packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large tomato

Steps:

  1. Rinse and drain the beans in a colander or strainer. Add them to a medium saucepan and cover with water by an inch or so. Allow to soak for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Once the beans have soaked and plumped up, sliver the garlic and chop the onion finely. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat; cook the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the beans and stir to mix. Place the saucepan of beans on the stove and bring to a full boil, covered, over high heat. After boiling the beans for five minutes, turn the heat down to low and allow the beans to (barely) simmer, partially covered, for 2-3 hours. Add more water if the beans start to dry out.
  4. When the beans are tender, finely chop the basil and mince the tomatoes. Add the basil, tomatoes, salt, and pepper to the beans. Serve with Parmesan on top.

Every time I've cooked with dried beans, I've felt like I'm adding way too much salt to flavor them, but I think it takes a lot to make them flavorful. The Parmesan helps though! I think I also added a little drizzle of olive oil over each portion for extra richness.

If you were generous with the cooking water, you might have to drain the beans before you add in the tomatoes and basil. I'm sure that some types of beans need more water than others do!