(from Wegmans magazine)
1 pkg. (16 oz.) dry great northern beans
9 cups water
24 leaves fresh sage, divided
2 sprigs rosemary, divided
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup basting oil
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1. Early in day or night before: place sorted, rinsed beans in large stockpot. Cover with water to 2 inches above bean level. Cover, tilting to vent; soak 8 hours to overnight.
2. Day you’re cooking: Drain beans, discarding soaking water. Add beans and 9 cups water to medium stockpot. Heat on high uncovered, until boiling. Skim as much foam as possible from surface. Add 4 sage leaves and 1 sprig of rosemary; reduce heat to medium. Cover, tilting to vent steam. Cook 1 hour; do not stir.
3. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in braising pan on medium. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 min. until tender. Chop remaining 20 sage leaves and sprig of rosemary; add to onion mixture in braising pan. Cook 1 minute.
4. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper. Simmer 10 min., stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
5. Check beans for tenderness; they should be completely tender. If they are not, cover completely; cook additional 15 min. or as needed.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add beans and liquid to onion mixture in braising pan; stir to combine. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake 60 minutes. Beans will be done when liquid has reduced, becoming syrupy and bubbly. Carefully remove from oven; season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Mix basting oil and panko in small bowl. Place mixture over baked beans and return to oven; bake 20-30 minutes until topping is brown and crisp.
This dish is even better the second day!
Serve with a simple arugula and fruit salad and any hearty Italian red wine.