VERDURE E FAGIOLI IN UMIDO CON TIMO or BEANS WITH FENNEL, TOMATOES AND THYME

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Last week I discovered a place in Pistoia that I have passed many times the twelve years I have lived here. I don’t understand how I have been able to miss it but I’m really happy that I at least found it. It is a very small desecrated church from 1363 full of beautiful frescoes; if you look up you see the creation hovering just over your head and on the walls you see stories from the bible. They are beautiful and as there is nothing else in there and the windows are letting in a lot of light, the focus is on what is depicted on the walls! I’m not religious, quite the opposite, but I find such peace in churches, it is as if all the devotion calms the atmosphere and the feeling and joy that the artists put into their work is almost tangible. And in the church of S. Antonio Ababte or del Tau I felt very happy and I marvelled at how wonderful is art that can transmit such feeling over such a distance of years. The photo that I posted yesterday with the dancing bears is right next to it, it’s part of an entrance to the adjoining monastery that today houses the Museum of Marino Marino, famous Italian sculptor.

But enough culture, over to the food! Some days ago I saw this wonderful recipe of a bean dish over at Burcu’s Almost Turkish Recipes and I just had to make something like it. Burcu posts wonderful recipes and it’s so interesting to see how similar but yet different Mediterranean cooking can be! I added some fennel, thyme and peperoncino but on the whole our recipes are very similar. Thanks Burcu!

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VERDURE E FAGIOLI IN UMIDO CON TIMO or BEANS WITH FENNEL, TOMATOES AND THYME
2 servings

150 g /5.3 oz cooked white beans
1 small onion
1/2 bulb of fennel
1 carrot
5 ripe tomatoes
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
1 small dried peperoncino
Salt
Olive oil

– Slice or chop the onion and braise it slowly in olive oil together with the crumbled peperoncino in a medium sized pan.
– Slice the fennel length wise (the slices keep together better that way) and chop or slice the carrot. Add them and the chopped thyme to the onion and go on braising for about 5 minutes.
– Chop the tomatoes and add them and salt to the rest. Let it simmer until they have become like tomato sauce should be and then you add the beans.
– Simmer for 5 more minutes or until you feel it’s ready, I like it when the tomatoes still have a quite fresh taste.
– I added some lightly toasted pumkin seeds (without shell) to it at the end to add some more texture. I agree with Burcu and think that this is best served cold but it’s good warm as well!

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L