Cannellini Beans with Garlic and Sage

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 115 minutes
Servings: 6

Great Northern or other dried white beans can be substituted for the cannellini beans.


  • 1 rounded cup dried cannellini beans 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 4 fresh sage leaves 
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 


Pick over the beans and discard any misshapen beans or stones, then rinse under cold running water and drain. Place in a large bowl with cold water to cover by about 3 inches and let soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Alternatively, transfer the rinsed beans to a large pot, add water to cover by 3 inches, bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let stand for 1 to 2 hours.

Drain the beans, place in a saucepan with water to cover by about 4 inches and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. The timing will depend on the variety and age of the beans. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sage and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the cooked beans and the tomato and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavors, about 20 minutes, adding a little of the reserved liquid if the beans become too dry.

Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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