Non - Vegetarian Meals

Creamy White Beans with Prosciutto and Fresh Herbs

Yesterday while staring at the contents of the pantry, I noticed a lovely bag of heirloom white beans that I’d been saving for some unspecified day in the future. No time like the present, right? (I have lots of nice things on my shelves that always seem better left for later.) Slow-cooked with prosciutto ends, herbs from the yard, a few aromatic vegetables, and my beloved chicken stock, heirloom beans made a comforting supper, with enough leftovers to stock the freezer.

With dried beans, the step that can interfere with impulsive meal-planning (my typical strategy) is the overnight soak. When I remember how cheap, delicious, and easy a dish like this can be, the soaking step doesn’t seem like such a burden. Once the beans are soaked, drain them and keep them to the side while you chop, saute, and season the other ingredients. This time I used prosciutto ends for richness and flavor; parmesan rinds work very well too. You can find both at specialty shops where they cut their own meat and cheese; the rinds are typically sold for cheap to those in the know.

The beans should cook slow and low, barely reaching a simmer. A crockpot or Instant Pot both do very well. Season the beans after they have softened a bit; don’t wait until the very end, or the interior of the beans will be bland. Once the beans are to your liking, top with buttered bread crumbs and bake in a deep casserole until the top is toasty.

Creamy White Beans with Prosciutto and Fresh Herbs

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 2 hours


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 cups soaked white beans such as cannelini
  • 1/2 a shallot, minced
  • 1/2 a medium carrot, diced
  • 1/2 a small leek, cleaned and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 3 oz/85g prosciutto ends or parmesan rind
  • chicken stock or vegetable to cover (about 4 cups)
  • bouquet of fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano
  • salt and pepper



Heat olive oil in a heavy pot, then add shallots, carrot, garlic, leek, and prosciutto (or parm rind).


Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a dash of stock if things are getting too brown.


Add the beans, herbs, and stock, and reduce heat to low.


Cover the pot and cook at a simmer (do not boil) until the beans are soft but not mushy.


Season the beans with salt and pepper, and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.


Check for seasoning, adjust to your liking, and top the casserole with buttered bread crumbs.


Bake in a 375°F/190°C oven until the bread crumbs are browned and toasty.

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