What is Fagioli Toscani con Pancetta e Cavolo Nero?
Beans are eaten all across Italy, but in Toscano (Tuscany) there are a cornucopia of varieties that make the 'poor man's meat' into something very special.
The famed Tuscan Ribollita features white beans in a hefty bread and bean soup that will fill every available space in your body. But it's THIS simple side recipe for creamy white beans with salty bacon that I love the most.
Beans are filling and healthy - a good source of protein and fibre, it's for that reason than this dish was born from poverty, using ingredients most households could access. A sparingly small amount of meat (if any) combined with cabbage to bulk it up and seasoned with salty pecorino cheese. Rustic, but divine.
Browsing the supermarket shelves in Tuscany is a real treat and you'll come across a world of beans that you can use for this recipe, like Zolfino, Sorana, Schiaccione or Coco Nano and so many more. I use Cannellini bean in my recipe - they're readily available in the rest of the world.