To me, fagioli all'uccelletto is simply Tuscany's version of baked beans that are traditionally cooked in a flask for hours on an open hearth. The term "bird style" implies that the same ingredients are used to cook small game birds. The modern version is to bake the beans in a bean pot or other heavy oven pot.
Tuscan cooks start with fresh, creamy white cannellini beans, a luxury that eliminates the soaking process, but dried beans are our alternative. Start the process the night before.
2 cups dried cannellini or Great White Northern beans
1/2 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 to 6 fresh sage leaves, minced
6 tablespoons tomato extract
Salt and pepper to taste
Cover the beans with cold water and allow them to soak overnight. Drain the beans, place them in a pot, cover them with fresh water and cook them until the skins easily slip off when pressed between your fingers. Drain the beans, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, add the sage and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and tomato extract dissolved in the reserved cooking liquid. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper and serve the beans with a drizzle of olive oil over the top.
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