Without a shadow of a doubt the most famous side dish of traditional Tuscan cuisine is the small beans.
There is no precise reason for the origin of the name for this typically Florentine dish and the only one who tried to answer this question was the father of Italian cuisine, Pellegrino Artusi, according to whom the sauce that makes the so palatable and extraordinary beans is very similar to the one used for cooking small game. And from here the name. To make the most of this tasty recipe, you can choose three types of beans: the well-known cannellini beans and two niche products from Pratomagno in the Casentino area, the zolfini with an intense flavor, almost totally free of peel and with a high digestibility, and toscanelli, white beans from round shape and tender, thick and creamy texture. However, this side dish is easy to prepare but needs some small details ranging from choosing the bean, to slow cooking, possibly in a crock pot, to using fresh sage and an excellent extra virgin olive oil strictly Tuscan.
And now we just have to get down to work.
400 g of dried toscanelli or zolfini beans
200 g of branched tomatoes or tomato puree
2 cloves of garlic
1 branch of fresh sage
½ glass of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper To Taste.
There are those who put the beans to soak the night before but with toscanelli and zolfini it is not necessary. If you don't have a crock pot, use one with a thick enough thermal bottom. The water must then be 5 times the weight of the beans used, to which you will add the sprig of sage and a tablespoon of olive oil. Once boiled, drain them, then in the same pan, gently brown the sprig of sage and the two cloves of poached garlic with the remaining oil. After a few minutes, add the previously chopped tomatoes and remove from the seeds. Cook until you get a thick and full-bodied sauce. At this point add the beans, salt and pepper to taste. Continue for another fifteen minutes approx. taking care to taste them every now and then to better evaluate the cooking degree.