Italian cuisine is full of amazing vegetable side dishes known as contorni. These are meant to accompany main courses of meat or fish, but you can often eat them as meals in themselves. There is a huge range of these dishes found up and down the country each with their own regional character.
This recipe for fagioli alla mugnaia (miller style beans) comes from the region of Le Marche. Centred on the port city of Ancona, Le Marche has some of the most stunning and, as yet, undiscovered coastline in Italy, as well as some exquisite historical towns such as Urbino. It’s tucked away on the eastern side of Italy between Emilia-Romagna to the north, Tuscany and Umbria to the west, and Lazio and Abruzzo to the south. It’s well worth a visit.
Fagioli alla Mugnaia
This dish was traditionally prepared by finely chopping all the ingredients and then mixing them with olive oil in a pestle and mortar before stirring through the beans. I prefer to use a food processor which smooths out all the ingredients and flavours into a luscious sauce. I eat it as a summer salad dish for which it is perfect.
You can use any white beans such as cannelini. Traditionally the dish is prepared with fagioli di spagna. However, it works well most other kinds of beans. If you are using dried beans, make sure to soak them overnight and cook them properly. But there’s nothing wrong with using canned beans which makes this an excellent last-minute supper.
- 80g tuna fish
- 3 eggs, hard boiled
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 800g white beans, cooked
- black pepper
- Put the tuna, eggs, anchovy fillets, and mint in a food processor. Mix together to form a paste.
- With the motor running, add the olive oil little by little to form the consistency of a runny mayonnaise. If the sauce is too thick, add more oil.
- Adjust salt to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the beans and mix thoroughly.
- Add black pepper and serve.