There are so many southern Italian and European country bean recipes; this is a variation on a cannellini bean dish my cousins used to make. This Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Summer Cannellini Beans recipe traditionally uses Pancetta, Italian cured pork, sometimes referred to as “Italian Bacon.” I have difficulty getting genuine tasting Pancetta and prefer the dish have uncompromised boldness of flavor. So, I substitute Pancetta with locally cured pork instead. In this Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Summer Cannellini Bean recipe, I use naturally cured Ham Steak from Sweet Happy Farms in Milton, VT.
Contrary to what many think, “uncured” meats simply mean the meats are cured with natural ingredients versus synthetic ingredients. Many leafy green and root vegetables have nitrites which naturally occur when plants break down nitrogen. Conventional “cured” meats contain synthetic nitrites or nitrates as direct additive curing agents.(1) US supermarket labels for “uncured” meats also sometimes state the product is “not preserved”, obviously it is preserved. “Preserved” refers to the use of synthetic additives nitrates or nitrites.
The “uncured” Ham Steak this recipe is courtesy of Sweet Happy Farms, click here to read my “Sweet Happy Pigs” interview with Sweet Happy Farms Owner Shawn Sweet. He cures his pork in brine containing celery, an old school approach for our modern time. I enjoy soaking the cannellini the night before and making them fresh for this meal, however, canned beans are a quick option and work very well in this dish. Summer Cannellini Beans can be served immediately or at room temperature.
Yields 2 ½ cups
8 ounce Ham Steak, cubed small (or Pancetta)
2 cups cooked (or canned) Cannellini Beans (17-19 ounce can)
1 cup chopped fresh Tomatoes
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped Onion
1 sprig fresh Oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 sprig fresh Thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
5 leaves fresh Basil (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
(optional) Crushed Red Pepper
(optional) Hard Italian Grating Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chop the Ham Steak or Pancetta in small cubes and set aside. Finely chop the garlic & onion and set aside. Set aside theherbs. Rinse the cannellini beans and set aside. Chop the tomatoes and set aside with their liquid in two ½ cup portions.
Using a sauté pan on medium high, add the cubed ham steak, stir every so often, and allow it to brown on both sides.
Add the olive oil to the pan, followed by the garlic & onion. If using optional crushed red pepper, add it now so the capsaicin can flavor the oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes, allow the onion to wilt. Add the fresh herbs and stir, cook for another minutes.
Add ½ cup of the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cannellini, cook for two minutes. Turn off heat, Stir in the remaining tomatoes and add salt and pepper.
To allow the flavors to marry, let sit for 5 more minutes covered and off the heat. Serve immediately or room temperature.
“Sumer Cannellini Beans” by Liz Conforti © Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free 2015
Read “Sweet Happy Pigs” interview with Shawn Sweet of Sweet Happy Farms
Read “Sweet Happy Chickens” interview with Shawn Sweet of Sweet Happy Farms
References & Links of Interest:
Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free: Journey into a Culinary Cultural Evolution &
Learn How to Transform Southern Italian Recipes to Gluten Free
Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free: Journey into a Culinary Cultural Evolution & Learn How to Transform Southern Italian Recipes to Gluten Free…Experience a Kitchen so Delicious, Those Who Can Eat Gluten Choose Not To! Available formats: eBook, & Paperback; On amazon.com, and at Select Vermont Retailers.
Traditional Recipes with a Modern Twist TMF
A fun look back at history by Todd Berkun
Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home
A random flight through some of my extraordinary flying adventures
Baking Joy Into Every Gluten-free Bite
Providing support to parents cooking allergy free meals. Wheat free, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free solutions to meals and baking
Happy to be gluten free? Yes!