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Tuscan Tomato Beans

Fagioli all'uccelletto

Fagioli all'uccelletto are beans with a light tomato sauce, are one of the most classic Tuscan dishes, and are a common accompaniment to braised dishes or stews in the winter months. Served with Italian link sausages they also make a perfect winter main course.

Ingredients: dried canellini (white beans), soaked for 3 hours, olive oil, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, fresh sage, fresh plum tomatoes or a small can of tomatoes, boiling water, salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:
Begin by boiling the beans until 3/4 done in lightly salted water. This will take about an hour, though you should begin checking them after a half hour. You don't want them to go soft on you.
Once the beans are 3/4 done, set the olive oil to heat over a medium flame, in a heavy bottomed clay pot or dutch oven. When the oil's hot, add the garlic and the sage (not more than seven or eight leaves; too much sage will make the beans bitter). Cook until the sage crackles and the garlic is lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, then add the beans and bean broth to cover. Season the beans with salt and pepper and simmer everything until the beans are quite soft, stirring occasionally and adding bean broth as necessary to keep things from drying out.

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