Tuesday, May 15, 2012

White Bean Ragoût with Toast

Right off the bat, I changed this recipe from Bon Appétit, because the first thing it wanted you to do was make something like 3 cups of soffritto, then use ½ cup and freeze the rest for another use. Um… no! I’m trying to empty the freezer right now, and with the way I cook, I just know I’m not going to get around to using the rest of it anytime soon. So we reduced the amount of soffrito and used all of it in the recipe, with great results. We also used less broth and cooked the whole thing less; that’s the version I’m giving you here. It was a simple, homely meal that was surprisingly good and satisfying. I think the soffritto and garlic gave it a lot of flavor! It’s also got some nice umami going on with the parmesan and tomato purée. The Engineer and I both enjoyed it very much.

1 medium onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves: 1 finely grated, 1 halved
1 tsp tomato paste
4 to 6 1-inch-thick slices ciabatta
8–10 Tbsp finely grated parmesan, divided
2 15-oz cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Pulse onion in a food processor until finely chopped but not puréed. Transfer to a medium bowl. Pulse bell pepper in processor until finely chopped but not puréed; add to bowl and mix well.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion mixture (it may splatter) and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are completely softened, about 15 minutes. Add finely grated garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste begins to turn deep red, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 °F. Rub bread slices with cut sides of remaining garlic clove. Place bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle 1 Tbsp parmesan over each slice. Toast until cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Heat soffritto and beans in same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup broth; bring to a boil. Simmer, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is slightly thickened, 3–4 minutes. Add tomatoes and remaining 1 cup broth; simmer until tomatoes are tender, 3–4 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide bread among bowls. Top with some bean mixture and broth. Garnish with remaining 2 Tbsp parmesan and parsley. Drizzle with oil, if desired.

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