Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tuscan Baked Beans

First, I'd like to express how much I LOVE the fall season. I wish I had more time to enjoy the beautiful weather - if it were up to me, I'd change the school calendar so there was less time off in the summer and more time off in the fall! But, it's not up to me, so I'll just enjoy when I can. I love the clear blue sky, colorful leaves, and crisp cool air. It's invigorating. Cooler weather means warmer meals - I'm excited to make some of my favorite soup recipes soon. I recently made this warm and comforting meal of tuscan baked beans. The first night I made it Greg and I ate the beans as a main course. We had leftovers, so the next night we ate it as a side dish with baked chicken. This meal is very flavorful - it is filled with herbs like rosemary and thyme. What I like best about the meal though is that it has a crunchy topping made of Panko bread crumbs and Romano cheese - mmm! This meal is fairly easy to make & it's delicious! Enjoy.

Recipe for Tuscan Baked Beans
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp. of kosher salt
1 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
12 sprigs of thyme
1 large sprig of rosemary
2 cans of great northern beans, drained
For the crunchy topping:
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup of grated Romano cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes (or until onions are tender). Add in the thyme and rosemary to the onion mixture and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from heat.

Pour the beans into a 2-quart oven safe dish. Discard the sprig of rosemary and half of the thyme leaves from the tomato and herb mixture. Add in the tomato and herb mixture to the beans, and mix together. Drizzle the mixture with the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

After the beans have been in the oven for about 30 minutes, make the crunchy topping. In a medium bowl, mix together the tablespoon of olive oil, Panko bread crumbs, and Romano cheese. When the 30 minute timer goes off, carefully remove the beans from the oven and then evenly spread the topping over the beans. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Put the beans back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes, or until the topping is browned. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve alone as a meal, or serve as a side dish with meat.

Recipe Adapted from: Wegmans