Crostini con Crema di Fagioli Cannellini

Crostini with Puréed Haricot Beans

This dish is almost an Italian houmus. We give here the basic recipe for cooking fagioli: it applies, with slightly varied cooking times, for borlotti and fave. The beans make enough to feed ten people; store the remainder in the fridge and use for Tonno e Fagioli, Pasta Fagioli and various minestrones.

Ingredients

  • 4–6 large slices Tuscan-style bread
  • good olive oil
  • a handful of parsley
  • juice of 1 lemon

For the Puréed Beans

  • 500 g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 red chilli
  • 4 garlic cloves, in their skins
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • parsley stalks

Method

Rinse the beans very thoroughly. Put in a large pan and cover to twice their depth with cold water (the volume of the soaked beans and the water should be the same: use the soaking bowl to measure). Bring the beans to a boil, turn the heat down, and skim thoroughly. Add the other ingredients and continue to simmer at a low heat until tender. The cooking time will vary according to the relative dryness of the beans, anything from 40 minutes to 2 hours.

Allow the beans to cool in their liquor. Drain, keeping the cooking water.

Prepare the crostini as above, drizzling with oil and grilling.

Take 250 g of cooked beans, preferably still warm (but you may reheat) and 4 tbsp of their cooking liquor, the garlic cloves from the recipe (peeled) and half the chilli. Place in a food processor and whizz. Add and blend in the parsley, the lemon juice and, finally, about 100 ml good olive oil. Spread on the grilled crostini and serve.