Tuscans are called “mangiafagioli” or “bean eaters” by other Italian throughout Italy as so much of Tuscany’s rustic cuisine is based on beans. The white kidney bean known as cannellini is the most popular.

Makes 6-8 servings


1 pound (450 g) cannellini beans, dried
2 garlic cloves, fresh
6 sage leaves, fresh
Olive oil
Lemon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Wash and clean beans under cold water. Discard any irregular pieces. Place beans in a large casserole pot (preferably earthenware) and cover with cold water. Soak overnight or at least 6 hours.

Drain beans and place them in a large pot. Add 10-12 cups (2.36 - 2.84 L) of cold water, 2 tablespoons of the oil, garlic and sage. Cover and simmer over medium heat, about 1 hour. Reduce heat to medium-low and season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering for 1-2 hours until beans are tender and soft, about 1-2 hours more.

Remove from heat and cool in the pot with the liquid. After beans are cool, drain beans reserving some liquid. When ready to serve, reheat beans in liquid over medium-low heat. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lemon olive oil and garnish with sage leaves and lemon slices.