In addition to the Italian kitchen being a wilderness of culinary adventures, it can also sometimes represent a bit of a jungle linguistically. At least for a Finn. I still haven’t forgotten the nightmares of briciole and often spend sleepless nights wondering what an earth a sformato is supposed to be (well, ok, not really – I just liked the dramatic sound of it).
The name of today’s dish made me already slightly nervous when trying to translate it with an on-line dictionary. “Damp beans” is not something that you would like to promote even by Cucina Fintastica’s somewhat less strict standards. Fortunately apparently the expression “in umido” can be translated as stew.
I have recently been participating in a 6-time cooking course in which we make Italian dishes from different regions of Italy in Italian (naturalmente) and we made this bean stew in one those lessons. It is a very common, simple and tasty way of preparing beans in Italy, and can serve as a side dish or even a vegetarian meal of its own. There seem to be dozens of versions of this dish, and some of them also include pancetta which you can add to your taste if you are not a semi-vegetarian (i.e. a non-red-meat eater) such as myself!
1 can of beans
1/4 of a mid-sized onion
2 bay leaves
tomato puree (from a tube)
Slice the onion into small pieces and gently fry it in a pan with some olive oil, chopped chilli and the bay leaves. Add the beans (with their water in the tin, or drain them first and add some water from tap) and some tomato puree (about 1/3 of the tube) and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Season with salt to your taste.