Dame Nancy Brussat says “When I close my eyes and think of Tuscany, I see scenery so sweet, serene, and balanced, it seems to be arranged by some masterful landscape architect. Regal cypress trees pierce an azure sky dotted with pink-tinged cumulus clouds.” She continues with visions of olive trees, their silvery green leaves and the Tuscan breezes. With one deep breath, I’m sure she would catch the aroma of sautéing pancetta and shallots wafting in the breeze as she recalled the lovely recipe she has contributed.—Linda Avery
5 cups cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini) – set aside
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced pancetta
1 cup chopped shallots
3/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups of red wine vinaigrette
Salt & pepper to taste
3 cups arugula
1. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add pancetta and brown well for approximately 5 plus minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add shallots and continue browning for another 5 minutes.
3. When very brown, add the sun-dried tomatoes and chili pepper flakes and sauté another 1-2 minutes.
4. When cool, mix with the beans. Pour 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette in the sauté pan to loosen the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Add that and the rest of the vinaigrette to the white bean mixture and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. (You can set dish aside at this point).
5. When ready to serve, toss the beans with the arugula. You may want to add more arugula. Taste again for salt and pepper. (You may also want to toss with more vinaigrette).