Last time I was in Piano di Collecchia, neighbor Francesca gave me some of the famous beans that they grow in these parts. (Those in the next town over, Bigliolo, are rightly famous all over Italy.)
She had just fed us some local chow, including sausage and beans, Lunigiana style. Fantastic….
So, I took the beans we smuggled into the US and boiled them up for a big Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. I found myself looking over the spice rack. Hmmm, some marjoram might be nice. Should I chop some onion? And shoot, a bay leaf is darn near required…
Then something grabbed that quivering hand of mine which seemed to be inching toward the spice rack barely under my control. “Stop, damn you!” a little voice inside my head twittered freakishly.
Ok, so what goes in the beans? A little salt at the end. And the sausages. Basta. I should have known better. I did know better.
Even the sausages had me saying to the butcher, “just sausage. Ground up pork. Nothing else but a little salt.”
Simplicity is the hallmark of good Tuscan cooking. My bean dish had a mere three ingredients: pork sausage, beans, and salt. Four if you count the water. Hardly anybody does.
Tuscan cooking at its best doesn’t muck up the clean flavor of the ingredients. You could actually taste the subtle and creamy goodness of the beans.
I’m hooked on this Tuscan thing.