2 cups dried cannellini beans (about 14 ounces), soaked overnight in cold
water to cover
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, halved
1 celery rib, halved
1 fresh tarragon sprig
1 fresh thyme sprig
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Drain the beans and rinse them in cold water. In a medium saucepan, combine the beans with the onion, carrot, celery and 8 cups cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are almost tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes; add more cold water if necessary to keep the beans covered.
Add the tarragon and thyme sprigs and simmer until the beans are very tender, about 20 minutes longer. Remove and discard the tarragon and thyme sprigs. Drain the beans and season with salt and pepper before serving.
The beans can be cooked up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in their cooking liquid. Reheat before proceeding.