Flageolets are tiny, tender French beans. Delicate in flavor, they range from creamy white to light green. If you can’t find them, try navy beans instead. The slow-roasted tomatoes will last in the fridge for up to five days; cover them with olive oil (add some sprigs of thyme or rosemary and a clove of garlic, if you like) and they’ll keep up to two weeks.
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Roast the tomatoes — Heat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Core the tomatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Put them on the baking sheet, cut side up, and sprinkle with the salt. Bake the tomatoes until they look dry but are still slightly plump and not leathery, 4 to 6 hours, depending on their size. Cut any large pieces in half.
Cook the beans — Drain the soaking beans and put them in a large pot along with the carrot, onion, and bay leaves. Tie the parsley and thyme together and add them to the pot. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Check that the beans stay covered with liquid, adding more if needed. When the beans are tender, add the salt. (The beans can be cooked up to 2 days ahead. Remove the carrot, onion, herbs, and bay leaves and refrigerate the beans in their liquid.)
In a Dutch oven or high-sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the celery and cook until softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. Add the beans and 2 cups of the cooking liquid to the celery and garlic. Add the slow-roasted tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. (At this point, the dish can be covered and held up to an hour at room temperature.)
The dish is good, but to our taste the roasted tomatoes are wasted in this recipe. You take that concentrated flavor and then it gets washed out in the liquid that the beans cook in for the last three minutes. We recommend just using high quality canned Roma tomatoes, from Napoli. With that the creamy flageolets would still be paired with the acidity of the tomatoes, but you won't feel that you went to the trouble of roasting them for nothing!
Very nice! Served with grilled whole branzino. Even better next day with cooked tubetti pasta added to it for a pasta e fagioli soup. Delicious!
Absolutely delicious and simple to make. Very good with braised lamb shanks
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