It was a weird, cool summer in Napa Valley. According to Steve Sando, of Rancho Gordo fame those were good conditions for his crop of cannellini beans.
While normally, this sort of information wouldn’t stick in my head any longer than a punch line to a good joke, this I will remember.
That’s because I have just started making a super-simple bean dish with cannellini beans. Although I had to use lima beans in the last batch because Rancho Gordo had sold out of last year’s crop of cannellini.
This recipe came about from pure serendipity. I had 12 women coming over for dinner, nearly a full bag of cooked cannellini beans (from last season) in my fridge, a jar of a simple marinara sauce (Whole Foods 365) and hardly any time.
I had always wanted to recreate a dish I’d had long ago with beans baked in tomato sauce, so this was the opportunity. I poured the sauce into a baking dish, spread the beans over the top, crumbled some feta over both and topped it with fresh chopped oregano. I was surprised by how much everyone loved it.
Try it. Add a green salad and it’s a meal.
Beans Baked in Tomato Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
What to drink: Red wine. This recipe is as easy to pair with just about any red table wine as it is to prepare. A couple of recommendations are Roth Estate Pinot Noir or Gainey Vineyard Limited Selection Merlot.
2 cups prepared tomato sauce
2 cups pre-cooked cannellini or large lima (yes, I said lima) beans
4 ounces feta cheese
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pour the tomato sauce into a baking dish. Spread the beans over the top. Crumble the feta over the beans and top with the oregano.
Bake at least 30 minutes until warmed through or up to an hour to let the flavors completely macerate.
Serve and season to taste with salt and pepper.