Borlotti Bean Polenta
1/3 cup dried borlotti or cranberry beans (2 ½ ounces)- picked over, rinsed and soaked over night.
6 garlic cloves, lightly mashed.
5 large sage leaves
1 ½ cups coarse cornmeal or no instant polenta
4 ½ cups cold water
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano
Freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Drain and rinse the beans. In a medium saucepan, cover the beans with 3 inches of water, add the garlic and sage and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour; season the beans with salt after 40 minutes. Drain the beans and discard the garlic and sage.
2. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the cornmeal with the water and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the polenta is very thick and pulls away from the side and bottom of the pan, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with pepper. Gently fold in the beans with a spatula, being careful not to break them up.
3. Scrape the polenta into one 8-by-3-inch glass loaf pan or two mini loaf pans, pressing to remove air pockets. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until completely firm.
4. Turn the polenta loaf out onto a work surface. Using a thin, sharp knife, slice the polenta ½ inch thick. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in each large non-stick skillets. Arrange the polenta slices in the skillets and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 6 minutes. Serve hot.