What is Tuscan? I’ve always wanted to know what that meant when Chefs said it. And after a bit of research and lots of cooking, I realized that Tuscan just means delicious and simple. The Tuscans are called the bean eaters so this dish is wholly appropriate. They utilize herbs and just a few simple ingredients to make their dishes. And isn’t that the best food? Something that is simple, rustic and hearty? Something that reminds you of home without all the anxiety and effort? I think that’s why I like this Tuscan White Bean and Pancetta sauté. It’s effortless, enjoyable and extremely tasty. It’s savory and filling. Which of course, is a necessity in comfort food. Because sometimes it’s not just the feeling you get from the food but the enjoyment of making it.
During this time of year, the days are short and it’s dark so early. It’s nice to have a meal you can whip up quickly, so you can just enjoy the evening (or what’s left of it) with the family. What better way to enjoy each other than talking over dinner. I’ve added some kale to this dish for added nutrition but you could add spinach or pasta if you so choose. Either way the family gets to spend most of its time at the dinner table and not in the kitchen.
Of course, there are so many other reasons this dish is wonderful and one is its versatility. Add a couple of cups of soup stock and it’s a warming soup serving as your starter. Or add some tortellini and it can serve as your main course. Perhaps you’ve decided to veg on the couch. That ok too. Remove the kale, whip the beans up in a food processor and have it as dip with some tortilla chips. I know, yum, that might happen tomorrow. Anyway, I love a dish and it’s fluidity is even more appealing. It can be reinvented for whatever occasion you need. So how do you plan on whipping this up tonight?
Tuscan White Bean and Pancetta Saute
Makes 4 -6 servings
- 2 cans of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic sliced
- 1/2 onion diced
- 4 ounces kale
- 4 ounces pancetta
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon of chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a dutch oven or large pan heat olive oil over medium high heat.
- Once pan is hot, add pancetta. Cook until crispy and lightly browned.
- Remove pancetta from pan.
- Add onion to pancetta grease and cook until translucent.
- Add kale and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add garlic, beans and sage.
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly, add pancetta.
- Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock and allow stock to evaporate.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with bread or pasta.