Beans are so darn good for you that I’m always looking for ways to incorporate them into our meals. This recipe is great as an antipasto all by itself; spoon it on top of a slice of grilled rustic bread (Bruschetta) and enjoy as a mid-day snack (merende) or add a bit of proscuitto and now you have pork and beans, Sicilian style.
Merende are small simple informal meals eaten in between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of the merende-type recipes I will be sharing with you are tied to centuries of tradition. From the Roman Gladiators to the current workers in the fields of the Italian countryside, merende gave them sustenance until they returned home. Growing up we never really had antipasti, which is why you may have noticed there isn’t an antipasti category. However, if you refer to the merende section, you will find many of these small bites that make an excellent antipasto.
- 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans cannellini beans drained, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 onions
- 1/2 (2-ounce) container anchovies
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup water
- Salt and pepper
- Drain and rinse cannellini beans.
- Crush garlic, finely chop onions and drained anchovy fillets. Don’t be put off by the anchovies, if you didn’t know they were there you might not even be able to taste them. You can always reduce the amount or eleminate them all together. Who knows, you may even want to add more.
- Peel and chop tomatoes.
- Melt butter in saucepan, add garlic, onions, anchovies and tomatoes; cook until onion is transparent.
- Add tomato paste, basil and sugar. Mix until combined.
- Add water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer covered for 30 minutes.
- Add cannellini beans, cook 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.