A Surefire Hit – White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

July 6, 2008

Full confession. I actually made this dish on Thursday for my clients. I knew I wanted to post and also knew I wasn’t going to be cooking much this holiday weekend – well, except for this…

…but I wasn’t super thrilled with how the above turned out, so I figured I would tell you about a dish that is a surefire hit. Imagine your kitchen smelling like roasting tomatoes, onions, and garlic. It is intoxicating. Now imagine bringing a dish to a party that everyone (even people you don’t know) asks you about and everyone tells you is delicious. This too can be you!! I have made this wonderful bean dish many times and it is always well received. The tomato/onion mixture would also be great over pasta, or spooned on to crostini. You will want to lick the baking pan. Seriously.

So, yes, you do need to heat your oven to 500 degrees, so if it is a boiling hot day, this may not be the right recipe. However, you could roast the veggies early in the day and just let them sit out at room temp for 8 hours or so. They may get more wrinkled looking, but their taste will actually improve.

I originally got the idea for this recipe from Gourmet magazine but I have made significant changes to it based on ideas from the comments on Epicurious and also just from having made it so many times. The recipe calls for cipolline (pronounced chip-o-leenee) onions which are out-of-control delicious but not always easy to find. Apparently their season starts in the fall, so I was not able to find them this time – even at Whole Foods. You can most definitely substitute pearl onions and even (in an extreme pinch) frozen pearl onions.

If you are using fresh (and not frozen) onions, the best way to get the peels off is to put them in boiling water for about a minute. Drain them, allow them to cool, and the skins will come right off. If you are using frozen, allow them to thaw otherwise they will give off too much water and steam rather than roast.

White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes
Loosely adapted from
Gourmet Magazine
Serves 6

2 lbs. large tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
1 lb. cherry tomatoes (mixed colors if possible)

1 lb. cipolline onions, peeled and halved if large

1 head garlic, cloves separated, left unpeeled

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp. good balsamic vinegar

2 15 oz. cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Toss tomato halves, cherry tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves with salt, sugar, and oil and spead out on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes cut side up. Roast vegetables, uncovered, until the onions are browned, large tomatoes are very tender with brown patches, and cherry tomatoes are falling apart, 35-50 minutes. Pull out of the oven and immediately sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and toss to combine well. Allow to cool. Squeeze garlic cloves out of their skin.

Put beans onto a platter. Scoop tomatoes, onions and garlic over beans. Pour the accumlated juices over the platter. Scatter with basil leaves.

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