White Beans with Cream, Prosciutto, and Parmesan

White Beans (Used with permission.)
White Beans (Used with permission.)

Autumn teases you, you know, with its chilly mid-September mornings, urging you to dream of sitting outside on cool evenings, wrapped lightly in woolen shawls, a bowl of hot bean soup nestled in your hands, a glass of Pinot Grigio resting on the small table next to you. Dreaming of a stone cottage in Italy’s Piedmont or a small crowded house in Rome, the smoke from the fireplace coating the walls, the whitewash of centuries peeping through. Listening, as it were, for the tromp of the Roman legions in the road, the cobblestones clanging with the noise and the breath of tired, hungry men, looking forward to their meal of pulses and gruel.  That’s what good food does–it brings back both memories and leads to wild imaginings.

Bliss.

White Beans with Cream, Prosciutto, and Parmesan

Serves 4 as a side dish

4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

½ cup heavy cream

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 cups cooked white Great Northern beans

2 T. chopped prosciutto

3 T. grated good quality Parmesan cheese

½ cup chopped fresh tomato, seeded

¼ cup shredded fresh basil leaves

Fry garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until lightly golden, about 5 minutes or so. Add the cream and black pepper and let cook until cream thickens slightly. Add the beans and prosciutto. Cook about 5 minutes; add Parmesan and tomato. Simmer until garlic flavor mellows and isn’t so sharp and pungent, about 20-25 minutes. When ready to serve, top with fresh basil.

Excellent for a grilled pork dinner. Or thinned out a bit with some chicken stock, it becomes a superb soup.

Original recipe, July 21, 2005

BOOKS ABOUT BEANS AND COOKING BEANS

Beans: A History, by Ken Albala

The Benevolent Bean, by Ancel and Margaret Keys

Easy Beans: Fast and Delicious Bean, Pea, and Lentil Recipes (2nd. edition), by Trisha Ross

© 2008 C. Bertelsen

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