The deep flavors of the rosemary, beans, their broth, and the radicchio make an all-vegetable dish that’s remarkably robust. Gnocchi-shaped pasta or shells are perfect for the beans, which end up cradled in the folds of the dough. This isn’t a particularly pretty dish—the radicchio turns brown—but if this bothers you, add a little chopped parsley before serving.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 cup dried large white beans, such as cannelloni, gigante or runner beans
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 3 plump garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds radicchio, sliced into 1/2-inch ribbons
- 1 pound dried pasta, such as gnocchi or shells
- Freshly grated Parmesan
- Sort through the beans, rinse them, then put them in a pressure cooker with 2 quarts water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bring to pressure and cook on high for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to fall naturally, then open the pot. Take a taste. If the beans aren’t fully tender, simmer them until they are. If you’re not using a pressure cooker, soak the beans for 4 hours (or cover with boiling water and let stand for an hour), then drain. Rinse and re-cover with 2 quarts cold water. Add the salt and oil; bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and reserve the cooking water.
- Put on a pot of water for the pasta.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil in a wide skillet. Add the onion and sauté over high heat until lightly browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, half the rosemary, and the radicchio and season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the radicchio is limp, a few minutes longer, then add the beans and 1 cup of their cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. It’s nice if there’s a little broth at the end, so add liquid as needed.
- Salt the pasta water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. When done, drain and add it immediately to the pan. Add the remaining rosemary and season well with pepper. Toss everything together, then divide among heated pasta bowls. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over each serving, add another twist of pepper, and lightly grate the cheese over all.