Over fifteen years ago, the mother of my first boyfriend taught me how to make the most delicious white beans with rice. White beans add a wonderful body to any rice or pasta dish. This recipe is based on her heritage and roots in Italy, where rice and white (cannellini) beans are staples in traditional Northern Italian cuisine.
I can remember standing in the kitchen with my boyfriend, nervous as anything because I was very inexperienced in the ways of cookery, and didn’t really know what the heck I was doing. I was hoping to impress, and looking back, this recipe was not only one of my first attempts in the kitchen, but also one of my first attempts as using food, and the act of cooking for someone, as an expression of love.
Luckily I passed the “mom test.” However, these days, I’ve added my own spin, substituting brown rice for the more traditional Arborio (risotto) rice. Arborio rice can be used too, if you’d prefer more traditional velvety, creamier texture.
Lovely White Beans with Rice
In a large saucepan over medium heat, sautée about 2 cups of chopped mirepoix (celery, carrot, and white onion) in ¼ cup of organic extra virgin olive oil.
Stir in a heaping spoonful or more of organic tomato paste, and one small spoonful of minced organic garlic.
Add about 2 cups of water, and 2 15 oz cans (about 3.5-4 cups) of white beans. Stir it all together, and simmer over medium-low heat for fifteen minutes, or until the mixture thickens up a bit.
Fold about 2 cups of fully-cooked brown rice into the mixture.
I like more beans than rice in my mixture, but feel free to add more rice if you want.
Combine ingredients slowly and softly over low heat for a few minutes. Let sit until it’s cooled off.
This recipe is so tasty, full of rich flavor and oh so much love.
*It’s vegan, and high in potassium and fiber too.