I’m always excited when I see a major food magazine put out a simple recipe using wholesome ingredients. I loved it when Bon Appetite recently recognized that some flavors just stand on their own, and even a depression era dish like “beans on toast” can be updated to today’s standards and still retain their integrity.
Bon Appetit did something else that was quite smart, and that I often do when I’m cooking – something unprecedented in a food magazine: They took a part of the recipe, a sofrito, and rather than cooking up just enough for the recipe, instructed one to make a larger amount, use part of it in the recipe and freeze the rest. Because the sofrito portion of the recipe takes about 30 minutes, it makes a lot of sense to make more and freeze part, and have the rest on hand for another batch or another recipe.
Perfect for me, because I make larger amounts of sofrito in batches and portion out for future use, anyway. I estimated, in the recipe, below, on how to make just enough for this recipe. See my Sofrito posting if you’d like to make larger amounts, and use about a cup for this recipe.
What is Sofrito, anyway? I describe it as a concentration of summer flavors: Bell Pepper, Tomato, Garlic and Onion, all sautéed to a jammy goodness. Bon Appetit described it as Italian, but many cultures and places have their own variation on Sofrito. There are a zillion uses for Sofrito, but one of my favorites is to use it as a “Spanish Sauce” with scrambled eggs.
All that being said, the recipe needed a bit of tweaking – and also a bit of Fabulous Frugalizing, and yes, beans can be fabulous! These ones certainly are! By the way, if you’ve ever heard me say “save the good stuff for drizzling” in referring to Olive Oil? This is a perfect example – if you wish to drizzle a bit over the finished dish, pull it out.
White Bean Ragout over Garlic Toast
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated, plus 1 crushed for the garlic toast
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 4 to 6 1″ thick slices grilled or toasted bread – home-made Artisan Bread is perfect!
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 8 to 10 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, divided
- 3 cups cannellini (white kidney) beans, or other white bean, cooked (2 cans, rinsed and drained)
- 3 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or green onion, thinly sliced
- Additional olive oil for garnish, if desired
Pulse onions in a food processor until finely chopped but not puréed (you should have about a cup). Transfer to a medium bowl. Pulse bell pepper in processor until finely chopped but not puréed (you should have about 1/2 cup); add to bowl and mix well.
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion mixture (it may splatter) and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are completely softened, about 30 minutes. Add finely grated garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste begins to turn deep red, about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet, and reserve skillet.
Note: may use instead, one cup of Sofrito.
Meanwhile, make garlic toasts. Rub 1″ slices of bread with a crushed garlic clove. Sprinkle aout a tablespoon of Parmesan over the top. Preheat broiler and broil several inches away from flame for several minutes until cheese begins to brown. This is best done on a rack so the bottoms of the bread stays completely dry.
Heat reserved the sofrito and beans in same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Simmer, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, and vinegar and simmer until tomatoes are tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
If you’d like a thicker sauce, mash a few of the beans and gently stir.
Divide bread among shallow bowls. Top with some bean mixture and broth. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan and parsley. Drizzle with oil, if desired.
from the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Cal 565; Cal fr Fat 342 61%; tot fat 37g; sat fat 5.86g; chol 3.75mg; carb 41.59g; prot 15.41g; fib 9.21g; sug 0
Put your Own Spin on It:
This dish is marvelous as is – my son added hot sauce, but he does that to almost everything now – guess it’s his new ketchup.
My Pay Off:
White Bean Ragout over Toasted Parmesan Bread was easy, fresh and substantial – and I have a little extra Sofrito for later!