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Simplest, Most Delicious Beans with Chianti

Kristin Donnelly

These healthy recipes are all created to pair with wine (a 5-ounce glass has anywhere from 110 to 150 calories)—all for 600 calories or fewer.

After trying the stellar beans from Rancho Gordo and from a few different farmers’ markets, I became a complete dried bean convert. I now cook up a batch almost every Sunday to include in meals during the week. When I was recently feeling lazy, I reheated the beans and added a cheese rind, which thickened the cooking liquid and gave it a delicious, rich umami. I ate the beans just like that, with a bright Chianti. (A good choice, considering Italians call people from Tuscany, Chianti’s home, “bean eaters.”) This recipe, which is admittedly loose because dried beans cook at different rates, depends on using the best beans you can find. It’s also proof of the cliché—if you buy great ingredients, you really don’t need to do much to them.

Simplest, Most Delicious Beans with Lemony Spinach

Active: 15 MIN; Total: Varies depending on the beans
2 Servings

1 cup dried light-colored beans, such as yellow eyes or cannellini, soaked for 6 to 8 hours and drained
½ onion, peeled
3 sprigs of thyme
Salt
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
2 packed cups baby spinach
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a heavy pot, cover the beans with water by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, add the onion and thyme and simmer the beans, partially covered, until nearly tender; add more water if it evaporates too quickly. Add a large pinch of salt and the cheese rind and simmer for at least 15 minutes or until the beans are tender and creamy and the liquid is thickened slightly. Season with more salt if necessary.
2. In a bowl, toss the spinach with the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
3. Discard the onion, thyme sprigs and cheese rind. Transfer the beans and some of the cooking liquid to bowls and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Top the beans with the lemony spinach and serve immediately.

Make ahead The beans can be refrigerated in their cooking liquid for up to 2 days. Reheat gently.

Wine 2011 Fèlsina Chianti Classico Berardenga

One serving 355 cal; 19 gm fat; 3 gm sat fat; 44 gm carb; 14 gm fiber; 17 gm protein.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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