Cannellini beans with pancetta and crostini is my new favorite obsession and so incredibly full of flavor! It may sound simple but do not let that fool you in how big it is on flavor.
Around our house, we are trying to eat a little less meat and more veggies and beans. My favorite bean is probably the cannellini bean, an Italian white bean that is creamy in texture and has great flavor.
I do like all beans though and make many dinners with them. My other favorite is my almost from scratch cuban black beans. Equally as amazing but it uses black beans.
I like to rotate what beans we eat because each variety offers different nutritional value, much like vegetables.
Although we are trying to eat less meat, I do like to add a little bit of pancetta or bacon to recipes just to maximize the flavors of the dishes I make. The amount of meat used is very small and it is really for flavor more than anything.
This dish is very simple to throw together because I use store bought canned beans that are rinsed. You can totally use dried beans if you have them or prefer them to the canned. I like to have canned beans for those last minute meals or busy evenings which seems to be often.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this delicious and easy weeknight Italian beans recipe:
- Cannellini beans
- pancetta (or bacon)
- chicken stock
- small tomato
- salt and pepper
- red pepper flakes
- Good baguette or boule bread
I suppose this is really a poor man’s Italian food that has been jazzed up with the addition of pancetta. Sometimes I think that the poorer class had some of the better dishes and that we can just improve on them 🙂
As I mentioned above, this is a really great quick weeknight meal. It is ready in under 30 minutes from start to finish. You are really going to want to add this to your dinner rotation.
I love this meal so much that I will make it even if I have time to make something more elaborate. Sometimes simple meals are just the best.
The steps to make this Italian cannellini beans recipe are:
- Cook your pancetta until crispy
- Sautee your shallots and garlic
- Add your rinsed and drained cannellini beans and spices
- Add your chicken stock
- Simmer for 10 minutes
- Make your garlic crostini
- Serve immediately
It really is so easy!
If you have skeptics in your group who think beans cannot be a meal like I do, once they try this, they will be convinced that beans can be amazing. I really love recipes that can convince people to like something that they thought they never would.
It is the best compliment.
The consistency of this cannellini beans dish is somewhere between plaing beans and a light broth soup. It is not a soup though. There will be just a enough broth for you to scoop into individual bowls along with the beans to have a touch of broth with each bite.
The garlic crostini is very important in this dish because it adds that crunch factor that you need with these creamy beans. We like dip our crostini into our bowls and scoop up a little of the beans and pancetta on to our crostini.
It is pure heaven!
This will make great leftovers as well so if there is any left after your meal, just store it in an air tight container in the fridge and reheat it in the microwave when you are ready.
So, you like beans and pancetta?
Cannellini Beans with Pancetta and Crostini
Pancetta and beans
- 2 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 4 ounces pancetta (or bacon) cubed
- 1 small shallot
- 1 small tomato quartered
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 boule bread cut into 1/2 thick slices
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic (left whole with outer skin removed)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Beans and Pancetta
- In a medium pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil
- Once the oil is heated (after a couple minutes) add your red pepper flakes, shallots and pancetta and cook until the pancetta is cooked through and crispy.
- Now add your garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add your rinsed cannellini beans, your diced tomato, salt and chicken stock and reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Proceed to making the crostini while it is simmering.
- Pre-heat your broiler to high.
- On a large sheet pan, add your sliced boule bread (or baguette slices).
- Brush each slice with some olive oil on one side only.
- Place under the broiler for a couple minutes or until the bread begins to brown.
- Take the pan out of the oven and carefully flip your bread over and place back under the broiler for another minutes or two until the other side begins to brown.
- Remove from the oven
- Flip your crostini back over with the olive oil side face up and take your whole clove of garlic and rub it on top of the bread. Just rub the garlic back and forth on each slice until it release its scent.
- Continue to do this to all the bread.
- Take your salt and place it in your hand.
- From your hand, gently and evenly sprinkle the salt over all of the crostini.
How to serve
- Ladle some beans and just a little broth into individual bowls.
- Serve with the garlic crostini on the side for dipping into the bowls.