Borlotti beans with tomatoes, garlic & basil
2 lbs. of Borlotti beans
6 medium cloves garlic (leave whole)
6 plum tomatoes, chopped roughly
1/4 cup basil leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
peperoncino (hot pepper flakes will do)
salt to taste
1. Shell beans and place in cold water. Bring water to a boil, and leave beans there for about 5 minutes or until they are about half-cooked.
2. While the beans are in the water, peel the garlic, wash and chop the tomatoes, and wash the basil leaves.
3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan large enough to hold the beans (or, if you’re going hard core paesano/a, a terra cotta pot), and add the garlic, tomatoes, and basil. Also put in some peperoncino if you’re feeling spicy.
4. Remove the beans from the water with a slotted spoon (or otherwise drain so that you reserve the bean water) and place in the saucepan.
5. Add a cup of the bean water or enough so that they are covered.
6. Set on low heat and stir every now and again, but not too roughly or you’ll be a bean breaker. If you see the mixture is getting too dry and the beans aren’t done cooking yet, add more pasta water as needed. The beans should take about an hour and a half to two hours to cook through.
7. After about an hour, add the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt to your taste. The sauce should be thick when done. When you are ready to serve, drizzle some fresh olive oil directly on top.
8. You can also garnish with fresh sliced red onion–and of course this is to be enjoyed with fresh Italian bread.