Fagioli o ceci all'olio (Beans or chick-peas in oil)
Preparation time: 5 minutes.
- Cooking time: 2 hours.
- 700g beans or chick-peas (double the quantity if fresh).
- Bunch of sage.
- 2 garlic cloves.
- Extra-virgin olive oil.
Chick-peas and beans are absolutely essential ingredients in Florentine cookery. Follow just a few, simple rules when cooking, and they will always be perfectly tender and delicious. Rinse them carefully in a sieve or colander and cover with plenty of cold water (you will need about three litres). Add a pinch of salt, sage leaves and the garlic and leave to cook over a very low flame. They usually need about two hours, though if fresh, only forty minutes, but stir them with a wooden spoon to test how soft they are. Serve with plenty of good olive oil, if possible, newly-pressed.
Do not serve beans if there are already vegetables (apart from salad) in any of the other courses. Many cooks believe it is better to soak beans or peas in cold water with two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda for at least eight hours first. I think that slow cooking over a very low flame gives better results, but you can try different methods to discover which works best for you.