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Poached Eggs with White Bean-Tomato Ragout

White beans simmered with pancetta, rosemary and fire-roasted tomatoes make an enticing base for poached eggs. It’s a novel choice for dinner and just as good for breakfast or lunch. Serve with thick slices of broiled country bread. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (each 14.5 oz.) fire-roasted tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 cans (each 15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 4 to 8 eggs
  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese for sprinkling

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, rosemary and red pepper flakes and sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the beans and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the mixture thickens and the flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Meanwhile, pour water into 1 (for 4 eggs) or 2 (for 8 eggs) large fry pans to a depth of 1 inch. Season the water with salt and add 1 tsp. vinegar to each fry pan. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer. One at a time, break an egg into a small cup or bowl and gently slip the egg into the water. Simmer gently until the eggs are cooked as desired, 3 to 4 minutes for runny yolks or up to 5 minutes for firmer yolks.

Divide the white bean mixture among 4 warmed bowls. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 1 or 2 eggs to each bowl. Top the eggs with cheese and black pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Quick Tips: For a meatless version, leave out the pancetta. The bean ragout makes a delicious side dish for chicken, lamb or pork. Almost any grating cheese would be good here—Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino and Comté are all excellent alternatives for the cheddar. Fire-roasted canned tomatoes are a flavorful convenience item to keep on hand in the pantry.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).