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.
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.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.