i’m a loyal reader of NYTimes recipes and enjoy perusing them for their attempts to attract a population who seem to eat in trends: cauliflower rice, spiralized vegetables, lots of cumin, curry and Middle Eastern spices.
My taste leans more towards plain food that tastes delicious because of quality ingredients and slow cooking. This recipe for a cheesy bean casserole hit the spot. I went out on a chilly, rainy morning and bought a sack of Great Northern white beans, sun-dried tomato paste in a tube and a plump head of garlic. When I got home, I heated up a kettle of water and poured it over the dried beans to soak until the afternoon.
After lunch, I drained the beans of its soaking water, added fresh cold water and brought it to a simmer until the beans were cooked through. Then, I drained them again. To prepare the casserole, I heated up some olive oil, added three large cloves of roughly chopped garlic, and a few hefty squirts of the sun-dried tomato paste. It smelled divine. What WOULDN’T be good, cooked in this melange of ingredients? I added the soaked, cooked, drained beans and extra boiling water.
I transferred the beans into a favorite heavy, enameled pan and sprinkled fresh mozzarella on the top. Into a hot oven (375 degrees,) I cooked the beans until golden brown – about a 15 minutes. Just before serving, With a couple of toasted onion bagels, the pot of beans was just right for a chilly, wet, grey day here in New England.
Isn’t it amazing how food like this can lift your spirits? YUM!
Afternote: The beans were subtle and tasty (e.g., “kind of plain.”) I’m planning to freeze the leftovers to heat up as a side dish to go with kielbasa or chicken wings!