A lot of the dishes I make at home are just recreations of some of my favorite restaurant dishes. This dish is based upon Ziziki’s Tavern‘s Hot Mezzes menu – Gigante Beans (from Florina, Greece) with plum tomatoes, feta and pancetta.
Maybe it’s because these special gigante beans are from Greece, but I couldn’t find them anywhere at Central Market. So I substituted Cannellini beans, and they worked perfectly fine. Not as great as the gigante, but a decent substitute.
This dish is great as a starter or side dish (I served them alongside Greek chicken), but they could easily be thrown over pasta for a main course. I do think the dish would be better with pancetta, but Central Market was a nightmare this weekend, and I didn’t feel like waiting in the long line at the deli.
And as a side note, this dish makes even better leftovers. I’ve been eating them for days, and I’m sad that my tupperware is almost empty.
Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon & Sage (slightly adapted from Bon Apetit, May 2000)
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped peeled carrot
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or 2 bacon slices, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (I like the fire-roasted tomatoes best)
1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup feta
Combine onion, carrot, celery, pancetta/bacon and garlic in heavy large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add sage; stir 15 seconds. Stir in cannellini, tomatoes with juices and broth. Simmer covered until flavors blend, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with feta before you serve.