- Prepare the beans* and vegetables Heat the oven to 475 degrees. In a 21/2-to-3-quart (ideally oven-safe) deep sauté pan, braiser, or shallow Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the onion, celery, and carrots.
- Season well with salt and black or red pepper. Cook, sautéing, until the vegetables brown lightly, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine, if using, to scrape up any stuck bits, then simmer until it disappears, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kale, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until collapsed, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the beans, and, if the mixture looks too dry or thick (canned tomatoes range quite a bit in juiciness), add up to 3/4 cup broth, 1/4 cup at a time. Simmer the mixture together over medium for about 10 minutes, adjusting the seasonings as needed. If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer the mixture to a 3-quart baking dish. If it is, well, carry on.
- Sprinkle the beans first with the mozzarella, then the Parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top. If you’re impatient and want a deeper colour, you can run it under the broiler. Finish with parsley, if desired.
These beans are called fagioli corona (in Italy), gigante/ gigandes (in Greece), Royal Corona (by Rancho Gordo, where I ordered mine), and other names. For a meaty variation, brown some fresh sweet or spicy Italian sausages (about 3/4 pound or 340 grams) with the vegetables.
*Bean cooking note
This recipe was originally designed as a long oven-braise that began with dried beans. I recommend you cook your beans in advance. Because they’re very big, I usually soak them for 12 to 24 hours in salted water, then simmer them for a couple hours; you could also use a slow cooker on high (usually 4 to 6 hours, but it will vary), or a pressure cooker (about 20 minutes, with variance), or bake them in the oven at 325 degrees for approximately 70 to 90 minutes after bringing them to a simmer on the stove.
Pizza beans recipe excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman. Text and photographs copyright © 2017 Deb Perelman. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.