2cupsdried white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern
2garlic cloves, peeled
1dried hot red pepper
Pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
Soak the beans in cold water to cover by at least 2inches for at least 12 hours or overnight. Drain the beans.
Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 3quarts of fresh cold water. Slowly bring to a boil, skimming once or twice. Add the garlic, hot pepper, salt, and the bay leaves, and continue to cook over the lowest heat until tender, about 3 hours.
Drain the beans; discard the pepper and bay leaves. Let cool to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the beans are made ahead and refrigerated, let return to room temperature before serving.