"I ate a ton of cannellini beans when I lived in Tuscany," Richard Betts says. "I made them a lot as a poor student. I still make them. Nothing has changed." Here, he tosses them with tomato sauce spiked with chiles and guanciale, the Italian bacon made from pig jowls or cheek.
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1 small onion, halved, plus 1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound guanciale or pancetta, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 dried hot red chiles
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
One 28-ounce can peeled whole Italian tomatoes in puree, crushed by hand
1 teaspoon finely chopped marjoram
Freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a saucepan, cover the beans and halved onion with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat, add a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the beans and spread them on a baking sheet to cool slightly; discard the onion.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the guanciale and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until translucent and the fat is just rendered, 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion, garlic and chiles and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened and just starting to brown, 8 minutes. Stir in the rosemary and sage and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and bring just to a simmer.
Add the beans to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until coated in a light sauce, about 7 minutes. Stir in the marjoram, season with salt and pepper and serve.
The beans can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently and add the marjoram before serving.
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