White Beans and Rosemary Crostini

Tuscans have been called “Bean Eaters” throughout their history. For the most part everybody agrees that the name calling was originated as a derogatory description of the very common frugality at the Tuscan dining table. Beans are cheap, rich in starch and proteins, and they have been a staple in our farmers’ and peasant cuisine since forever. Again this well represent our traditional approach to the ingredients we have at hand, and the necessity of making the best with what is available, as long as it can be cooked properly.

Of all the Tuscan recipes we know today, this is most likely the cheapest bite you can achieve without compromising the nourishment, the flavor and the joy of eating with your family. As they say “somebody’s garbage can be somebody else’s treasure”; as poor and simple this recipe is I believe it to be worthy of a King and his court! Try it, and tell me if I’m wrong.


Prep Time: 5 mins/ Cook Time: 10 mins/ Serves: 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
¼ pound pancetta, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thickly sliced
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
2 (15 ounce) cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
Squeeze of lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Baguette, sliced

Heat fireplace to a medium heat. Adjust grill racks over the flame and heat a heavy dutch oven over the rack. Alternatively, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.


Once hot, add the oil to heat. Add pancetta and render some of its fat. Add rosemary and garlic and sauté until fragrant.


Stir in beans, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mash the beans with the back of the wooden spoon. Don’t mash them all smooth- you want some texture.


Toast sliced baguette. Serve the beans on top of the toasted bread. Drizzle with Olive oil, if desired.