Fagioli Al Uccelletto “Tuscan Baked Beans”

These are the beans I served with the Italian-Style Slow-Roasted Pork Roast with Oranges & Onions.  They go perfectly with it.  You can use canned beans instead of soaking the beans overnight, if you want to make it easier.  These beans are a typical dish from Tuscany, particularly in the Florence area.
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Fagioli Al Uccelletto “Tuscan Baked Beans”

Serves 8

16 oz dry Great Northern Beans
9 cups water
24 leaves fresh sage, divided
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
8  plum tomatoes (about 2 lbs), chopped
1 Tbs salt
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups Panko bread crumbs

The day before
Place sorted, rinsed beans in large stockpot. Cover with water to 2 inches above bean level and soak 8 hours to overnight.

Drain beans, discarding soaking water. Add beans and 9 cups fresh water to medium stockpot. Heat on high uncovered, until boiling. Skim as much foam as possible from surface. Add 4 sage leaves and 1 sprig of rosemary; reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 1 hour; do not stir.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in braising pan on medium. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 min, until tender. Chop remaining 20 sage leaves and sprig of rosemary; add to onion mixture in braising pan. Cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and salt and pepper. Simmer 10 min, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Check beans for tenderness; they should be completely tender. If they are not, cover completely; cook additional 15 min or as needed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add beans with 1 cup of the liquid to onion mixture in braising pan; stir to combine. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake for 1 hour. Beans will be done when liquid has reduced, becoming syrupy and bubbly. Carefully remove from oven; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix olive oil and panko in small bowl. Place mixture over baked beans and return to oven; bake 20-30 min until topping is brown and crisp.

Note: You can substitute 4 cans of Great Northern Beans, undrained. Begin recipe at step 3 and eliminate step 5.

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