White bean puree.

I am a Bean Girl, raised on Navy Bean Soup, pork & beans, baked beans and the like. (Perhaps tellingly, my mom was picking limas when she felt the first twinges signaling my impending arrival.)

I am not married to a Bean Guy.

Consequently, beans are not often on the menu Chez Mooth. Rob enjoys sauteed haricots verts as much as the next guy. One bean recipe that seems to have bridged the gap is white bean puree, spread on crackers with cocktails before dinner.

On our recent trip to the Bay Area and Wine Country, I picked up a pound of dried cannellini beans from Rancho Gordo‘s stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, along with a pound of Midnight black beans for Mom. I thought of making the white bean puree with dried beans instead of canned.

Cooking dried beans can’t be easier; Rancho Gordo provides great instructions here, or see the Ingredients note below. And they make a world of difference in one of my favorite happy hour recipes, this one adapted from Giada de Laurentiis’s Everyday Italian.

white bean puree
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Toss everything in the bowl of a food processor; puree till well-blended. (I like to use my immersion blender instead). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

Ingredients: I don’t often cook with shell beans, and tend to use canned when I do. But I grabbed a 1-pound bag of cannellini beans from Rancho Gordo at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, and was amazed at the taste. They’re fresh, herbal, bean-y in the best of ways. Rancho Gordo has simple cooking instructions here (dried beans are pretty idiot-proof). My rather accidental method was easier (though RG’s tip of sauteeing the aromatics would result in more flavorful beans). I soaked the beans overnight (they swelled and absorbed all the water, so be sure to cover amply), then rinsed and threw them in a dutch oven with a carrot and celery stalk (both halved) the end of an onion I had in the fridge, a bay leaf and a few peppercorns. Once the pot boiled, I reduced the heat, covered the pot and cooked the beans gently for about 40 minutes, tasting them occasionally to make sure they were al dente and not mushy.