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Pot of Beans

Straight from the pot, beans make a meal. Serve cannellini beans Italian-style, with crostini and escarole sauteed in garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and finish with fried rosemary sprigs and a little more oil.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 6 cups
Pot of Beans

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2011



  • 1 pound dried beans, such as kidney, cannellini, navy, pinto, or black
  • 8 to 10 cups water, plus more for soaking

Flavor Base

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 fresh chile, chopped
  • Coarse salt
  • Optional flavor add-ins (see below)


  1. Make the beans: Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water by several inches. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Drain. (For a quick soak, cover beans in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain.)

  2. Make the flavor base: Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, chile, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and any add-ins until onion and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add beans, 8 cups water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, adding water as needed to keep submerged, until tender, 35 minutes to 2 hours, depending on type of bean. (Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes.)

Cook's Note

Stir a few tablespoons of any of these into the flavor base: bell peppers, sausage, bacon, tomatoes. Or season with herbs and spices (cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf).


Reviews (2)

  • Bmasteller 12 Sep, 2012

    OH YUM! I've never cooked cannellini beans before, and am really new to bean cooking in general. THANKS for this recipe - great one to rif from!

    Only had dried smoked chili, so rehydrated it. Added some cooked bacon (old), a bit of leftover Speck (from another recipe here), 1/3 bell pepper, 2 stalk celery. Put in 4 cups water then remembered leftover 1 1/2 qt chicken stock, used it. 3 hours later...oh lordy it's divine bean soup!!

  • irleshay 4 Mar, 2011

    Really easy! I mashed some up to top crostini with, and sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil. My beans took only 35 minutes.

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