Drawn in: Simple Italian Beans

Because you’re here, I’m assuming most of you are blog-readers, and you’ll understand this. You know when you find a new blog, start exploring the archives, then all of a sudden you look up and three hours have gone by? That happens to me occasionally, and not necessarily with famous blogs, those with flashy, expertly-designed pages, or even ones that deal with subject matter I’m particularly interested in. Sometimes, I just get drawn into someone’s life.

This happened to me recently with Megans blog Bella Vita in Liguria. I don’t even remember how I found it, most likely I was planning an imaginary holiday to Italy in my head (yes, I do that during the winter) and stumbled across it by accident. Within minutes, I was completely engrossed.

Megan is an American expat who now lives in the Liguria region of Northern Italy, along with the Italian Riviera. She’s got an adorable dog, an adorable husband (hey, I’m happily paired off so I can say that, right?) and an amazing view from her terrace (yes, that’s it in her header image). She also lives in one of the most beautiful and magical places in the world, one that she knows inside out and shares with others via her boutique travel company Bella Vita Italia.

So when I was reading through Megan’s vast archives (shes been blogging since 2005), I was expecting to find gorgeous locations, travel tips, and expat humour. I wasn’t expecting my new favourite way to eat beans, but lucky me, I found that too.

This recipe is so quick and simple that I nearly didn’t bother to try it; in my food blogger-snobbery, I was convinced that it was too simple for me. Developed from something her Italian mother-in-law makes, Megan’s beans only have six ingredients. But that simplicity is exactly what makes this recipe so great; you can make it with any kind of bean you like, or use it as the basis for a more elaborate salad or side.

Personally, I like it just as it is. On a bed of undressed greens, it makes a lovely vegetarian main, one I can enjoy while I’m perusing the internet for more blogs to get lost in.

Simple Italian Beans

adapted from Bella Vita in Liguria

serves 2 as a side, 1 as a main (easily scaled up)

  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small sprig rosemary, leaves picked
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. concentrated tomato paste
  • 410g can of beans (235g drained weight), rinsed and drained OR equivalent pre-soaked-and-cooked beans

  1. First, finely chop the onion, garlic, and rosemary together. Add the salt and keep mincing until the mixture is almost paste-like.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat and add the onion mixture. Cook gently for 2-4 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the tomato paste and the beans and stir well; you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water. Simmer for a few minutes until the beans are hot through and well coated with the sauce. Serve as a side or a main.
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