Stefania Montori and Lucia De Carolis: "Beans, ideal cultivation and recipes"

Stefania, in the fourth and last part of the story, continues to tell the story of eco-sustainable beans

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Stefania Montori and Lucia De Carolis: "Beans, ideal cultivation and recipes"

Stefania Montori and Lucia De Carolis talk to us in this monthly column about how, through proper nutrition, we can take care of the environment. Stefania, in the fourth and last part of the story, continues to tell the story of eco-sustainable beans: "The bean is planted in the second half of May after suitable tillage.

5-6 beans are placed in each hole, carefully covering them with earth and watering them with water. The plants are planted in rows in such a way as to facilitate cultivation operations, allow uniform insolation, facilitate the correct flow of rainwater.

When the seedling reaches 10-15 centimeters, a first hoeing is carried out to move the soil around the plant. As soon as the seedling has grown and has stabilized in the ground through the branching of the roots, a second hoeing takes place to cover the roots well, favor the regular drainage of rainwater and facilitate the growth of the plant itself.

Subsequently, the plant needs occasional watering depending on the course of the season (more or less dry) and maintenance with hoeing aimed at eliminating weeds and aerating the soil. Harvesting takes place in early October and is done by hand.

Once the bean has been picked, it is shelled and left to dry on sheets placed on the ground outdoors, in order to facilitate its conservation. Part of the product is consumed fresh, part is dried and put away for the winter, another quantity (generally the best) is instead kept as a seed for the following year.

When we talk about beans, the thoughts of the sweet tooth irresistibly go to beans with pork rinds, the main dish of the singular gastronomic contest that is organized in Labro on the occasion of the Gentile Bean Festival.

A sort of Masterchef, but with less demanding and severe judges, of which the first winner, in the 1972 edition, was Mrs. Gina Curini. Of course, in this case, by combining pork, and in particular fatty cuts, we will obtain a succulent dish but certainly not particularly light.

Beans, however, with the richness of their nutrient supply and the lack of fat, lend themselves very well to becoming part of the diet of those who are attentive to the figure and nutrition in general. They can be a side dish to a meat dish, seasoned with gravy or with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a bay leaf and onion - not necessarily fried!

And they can become a single dish, thanks to the combination with whole grains, making them appetizing even for those rebellious children when faced with vegetables. Among other things, the varieties offered by Sabina have the great advantage of having a very thin integument, which seems to almost disappear during cooking, or very resistant so as to never detach from the bean.

Characteristics that cancel the poor digestibility complained of by many. And they have in common a delicate and mellow flavor, which melts in the mouth, and because of its little invasiveness it lends itself to the most curious combinations.

Among other things, they are bungler-proof. The beans that we have told you here do not need to be soaked, precisely because of those peculiarities of the peel. And they are cooked in a very short time, boiling them in a little water.

Even the most clumsy and bungler in the kitchen will have his satisfaction!


Pasta and beans In addition to the pasta, oil, onion, peeled tomatoes, raw ham or bacon, borlotti beans, a carrot and a stick of celery (to create the sauté) and vegetable broth will be needed.

Sauté carrot, onion, and celery in a saucepan. Mix the ingredients and, in the meantime, boil the water for the pasta. Meanwhile, take three ladles of bean gravy and chop everything with a hand blender to get a creamy mixture.

At this point, drain the pasta 5 minutes before the end of its cooking and add it to the sauce. Continue cooking, also adding the creamy mixture and rosemary and serve your pasta and beans. It is delicious both cold and hot, with a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil.

For spicy palates, try this recipe: fry a red pepper and a clove of garlic in oil. When the garlic has browned, remove it and add a crumbled sausage. Let it evaporate with some white wine and add the salt; at this point, add the tomato puree and cook the sauce.

Finally, add the beans and a couple of ladles of water and cook them for about 10 minutes. Finally, serve them with some toasted bread croutons. Yummy: you can also use them to make burritos. Just replace the recipe with the sausage with minced meat and serve them with stringy cheese and white rice.

The result? A very tasty dish to eat in company! Beans in sauce with pork or ham cotics Soak the beans for at least 10 hours if dry. Boil the beans. Boil the pork rinds in plenty of salted water for half an hour. Chop the onion, carrot and celery.

Drain the pork rinds and cut them into strips. In a pan, possibly earthenware, brown the chopped herbs with the oil, add the pork rinds, beans, tomato sauce, chilli and salt. Cover with a lid, lower the heat and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for half an hour.

Drain the beans and rinse them under running water. Drain them well and pass them through a vegetable mill. Finely chop the shallot and sauté quickly in a pan with a little oil. In a bowl, mix the bean puree, Parmesan, ricotta, shallot, chopped fresh parsley.

Season with salt and pepper. With the help of a teaspoon, form balls and roll them on the plate with the chopped almonds. With this dose and using a teaspoon I got about 22 balls. In my opinion, the ideal is to get small bites so you can eat them in one bite.

The recipe did not specify the use of almonds with or without peel. I used the ones with the cuticle. As soon as all the morsels were formed, I put them in the refrigerator, not to firm them up (the consistency is right immediately) but to serve them at a cooler temperature. They are very good for us, excellent appetizer or appetizer to be presented, if ever, on a bed of mixed salad.