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Monday, April 20, 2015

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini Beans:

About:

Cannellini beans are a varietyof white beans popular in Central and Soutahern Italy, particularly in Tuscany.  Other names include "white kidney beans" and "fazolia beans".  White or off-white beans grow in a large range of climates.  They are commonly grown throughout Central and South America, but grow equally as well in North America including many parts of Northern Canada.  They are abundant in Europe and the Middle East.
Before cooking Cannellini beans must be thoroughly rinsed.  When cooked the Cannellini bean is fluffy and creamy.  They are known for their smooth texture and nutty flavor.  

Uses:

In Tuscany Cannellini beans are often eaten dried instead of cooked.  In other parts of Italy the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry.  In the U.S. vegetarians often utilize these hearty beans as a substitute for fish or chicken.  Cannellini beans can be found throughout America and Britain in minestrone soups and various bean salads.   They can be added to soups and stews, served seasoned with salt and pepper, or pureed and used as a spread on crackers and sandwiches.  They can also be used to make a white bean chili.
One cup of dried beans yields approximately 3 cups of cooked beans. In recipes Great Northern beans and while navy beans can be  substituted for Cannellini.

History:

The Cannellini bean is believed to have originated in Peru and spread by trade throughout South and Central America.  It was later introduced to Europe in the 15th century by Spanish explorers.  Cannellini beans became known as a high quality, inexpensive source of protein and nutrition.  They have become a diet staple in many cultures and are widely produced in Asia, Europe, and North America.


Nutrition:

Cannellini beans are an excellent source of iron, maganesium, and folate.  They are a good source of protein and fiber.  Cannellini beans are low in fat and  are low calorie.

Season:

Cannellini beans are available year round.  They are found in spermarkiets dried or canned.

Selecting and Storing:

Cannellini beans should be evenly colored with a slightly off-white color.   They should be stored in an airtight glass container to preserve them.  Cooked Cannellini beans should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  After 3-4 days the beans can be frozen.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good:


Pasta e Fagioli 

1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian diced tomatoes
2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried ditalini pasta
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese to taste

In a large skilled cook chopped garlic and chopped onion in the olive oil until soft but not brown.  Add rinsed cannellin beans and sautee about 2 minutes.  Add can of tomatoes including juice.  Add salt and pepper.  Cover and let simmer, while preparing  pasta.

Boil pasta until al dente, approximately  10 minutes. Drain and add to other ingredients.   Stir and simmer 2 more minutes.  Add cheese when serving. 


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