Makes 3 cups
This recipe features Rancho Gordo heirloom large white lima beans. If you are using another brand of bean be aware they may need a more extended soak time. I have used Rancho Gordo beans for many years now and believe they are the best high quality beans available. My husband used to refuse to eat beans period but once he tried these and decided they were good, our menu options have expanded.
These beans are so fresh they have a hint of sweetness to them. Rancho Gordo recommends only soaking their beans for a maximum of 6 hours otherwise they may begin to sprout! Rancho Gordo sent an instruction card with my order on how to prepare dried beans which I am sharing as part of this recipe with their permission. Rancho Gordo recommends sautéing some vegetables to add with your beans when you cook them but for this recipe, we are skipping this step “In a large pot, sauté finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic [or any combination you prefer] in olive oil until soft.” All you need is a leisurely Sunday afternoon to simmer your beans. Or you can make them ahead of time so they are ready to use in your recipe. According to Rancho Gordo you can refrigerate their beans for up to 5 days in their cooking liquid. The beans can also be frozen.
See the link below for the Rancho Gordo website so you can browse their beans for yourself. Or check out the many recipes they have available on their website. I personally prefer their lima, pinto, flageolet, and black beans but there are many other options to choose from as well. Enjoy!
Ingredients for the Basil Pesto (we will make the basil pesto ahead of time so it is ready):
- 40 fresh basil leaves rinsed and set on a towel to dry
- 4 teaspoons pine nuts
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino cheese
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions for the Basil Pesto:
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process on low until the pesto ingredients are well combined and the pesto looks creamy.
Storage: the pesto can be stored for a few hours by storing it in a small-sized bowl and covering it with olive oil. This will slow down the discoloration of the pesto.
Ingredients for the Beans:
- 1 cup Rancho Gordo lima beans
- Filtered or spring water for cooking the beans
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling over the finished beans
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Sea salt such as Maldon to taste for serving (optional as the pesto is salty from the cheese already)
Instructions for the beans:
1. Here is Rancho Gordo’s basic method of cooking beans (these instructions apply to Rancho Gordo Beans as store-bought beans will likely not be as fresh and will need to soak a lot longer):
“Check beans for small debris and rinse in cool, fresh water. Cover beans with two inches of water and soak for 4-6 hours.” “Add beans and water, and make sure beans are covered by at least one inch of water. Bring to a hard boil for 15 minutes and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Once soft, add salt. Beans can take from one to three hours to cook. Slow and low is best!”
2. Once the beans have finished cooking, add the extra-virgin olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes until the sauce is creamy and thickened and reduced by half.
3. Serve the beans immediately in the sauce with the basil pesto drizzled all over the beans. Drizzle more olive oil on the finished dish and top with some crunchy sea salt if desired.
We served these beans with an adapted version of the “Crispy Parmesan Roast Chicken With Lemon by Melissa Clark from the NY Times. It felt like we were dining in a fine Italian restaurant!
Sources: Rancho Gordo’s basic bean preparation instructions. “COOKING DRIED BEANS in the RANCHO GORDO MANNER.” Rancho Gordo, Napa California.
Adapted from New York Times.
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1019385-creamy-white-beans-with-herb-oil. By Colu Henry.