all’Uccelletto - Tuscany Style
all’uccelletto” is a recipe that Terry, my wife cooks occasionally using a Tuscan recipe she learned from
her great-grandmother Emilia.
Nonna Emilia was born and raised in Serravalle
Pistoiese in Tuscany. Terry had much love for her and in fact she refers to her as “my grandmother Emilia” and
she remembers her for her intelligence, her wisdom, and because she was also a great
This is a perfect dish for the busy life of
today’s women in their role as carrier woman, mother, wife and homemaker, because it can be quickly prepared;
and in fact if using good quality canned cannellini beans, this recipe can be prepared in a short time and with
Serve 4 to 6
½ lb. dry beans, soaked
4 tablespoons of olive
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 sprigs of sage or 10 leaves or 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons of tomato paste, diluted in ½
cup of warm water
Crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Inspect the dry beans for any small stones or
foreign articles, rinse well. Soak the beans overnight in a large pot with plenty of water.
In a heavy sauce pot, place 2 tablespoons of
oil and 1 clove of garlic; cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add drained beans, ½
of the sage and enough water to be 2 inches above the beans. Bring
to a boil then simmer covered for 45 minutes.
Keep a pot with boiling water, to add to beans
if they become too dry. Liquid should be 1 inch above beans at all the time.
Test beans for doneness if they are ready set
aside, or simmer beans until soft but not overdone; when cooked add ½ tablespoon of salt. Place into a bowl and
set on the side.
Or use 2 cans of 15 oz. cannellini beans,
which equals to ½ lb. dry beans; rinse well to eliminate the canning salt.
Use the same pot and combine 2 tablespoons of
olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic and place over a medium heat. When the garlic turns golden in color, remove
skillet from the fire, and add in the tomato paste diluted in water; return to heat and cook for 10
Add beans, sage, peppers, some salt, if needed
and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Beans all’uccelletto should not be too liquid
or too dry, but thick like a stew. If they are too dry add some hot water, if too watery simmer
Serve warm or at room temperature, with
crushed red pepper flakes on the side.
The delicious “Beans all’uccelletto” can be served as an appetizer, or as a contorno, side
dish, to braised, roasted or stewed meat and to sausages; also it can be served as a meal accompanied with fresh
“Pane Sciocco”, Tuscany classic salt free bread and a good bottle of Chianti wine.