Food Secrets Straight From the Fields

Bundles of Beans

Beans, beans, bundles of beans. Diverse. Versatile. Simple. Here are three recipes – two using the same beans prepared simultaneously – to make your time in the kitchen easy, efficient and full of flavor.

Iacopi Tuscan Style Butter Beans
Serves 8 – 10

Prep Notes: Butter Beans are prepped differently if they are fresh or dried as follows:

  • If the beans are fresh, wash, place in a pot filled with water on top of stove, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a fast simmer.  Simmer for 40 minutes or until tender.  Drain and set aside.
  • If the beans are dried, soak overnight in a pot of water covering the beans by about two inches.  When you are ready to prepare the recipe, drain in a colander, transfer to a pot filled with cold water, bring to a gentle boil and cook until tender, 45-60 minutes. Drain and set aside.


  • 8 Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium head garlic or more to taste (whole head, NOT one clove)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 Tbls. FRESH oregano, sage and rosemary
  • 3 Italian sausage 
  • 1 # Italian Butter Beans
  • 1 16 oz. can tomato sauce


  1. Soak beans until ready to use (See Note above).
  2. Chop herbs and set aside.
  3. Chop onion, mince garlic and sauté together in 2-3 Tbls. Olive oil.
  4. Add herbs and stir for one minute.
  5. Slice sausage and add to pot with onion, garlic and herb mixture.
  6. Cook together until sausage is tender and Olive oil is absorbed by herb mixture.
  7. Add chopped tomatoes.
  8. Add tomato sauce.
  9. Let simmer 30 minutes.
  10. Add prepared beans slowly to the pan.
  11. Let simmer together another 15 to 20 minutes or until tender and serve.

For technique photos, please click here for photo gallery.

Antipasto Butter Beans

Note:  This recipe is designed to use any extra Butter Beans leftover from the recipe above.
(Or any other recipe for leftover Butter Beans.  The instructions from the Iacopi Family specify the following:  “There is no recipe.  Just think.  And enjoy the simplicity.”  


  • 1 cup extra Butter Beans
  • Chopped Red Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Place cooked Italian Butter Beans on plate.
  2. Sprinkle with olive oil.
  3. Add chopped red onion, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with toasted slices of baguette.
  5. And a glass of red wine.
  6. That’s it!

For technique photos, please click here for photo gallery.

Lou’s “Crazy Mixed-Up Salad”
Serves 4 or more


  • 1 lb. Italian Flat Beans (Romano)
  • 1 – 1.5 lb. Chuck Steak  (also called Seven Blade Steak)
  • 2 Peppers  (Lou used yellow Italian peppers; red or green perfectly well)
  • ½ large red onion
  • 1 – 2 small cans of Tuna
  • 3 medium Red Potatoes
  • 2 firm Round Tomatoes
  • Small tin Anchovies in oil
  • Salt/pepper to taste


Note:  This recipe can either be served as a composed salad where the ingredients are served separately and diners select the components individually, or all the ingredients can be placed in a large bowl and tossed.  Either way, the combination of ingredients melds together for a unique and wonderful integrated set of flavors.  Lou prepared this as a tossed salad. 

  1. Rinse the meat, pan dry and put in a large pot with cold water.   Bring to a slow boil and cook slowly until done, approximately 1.5 – 2 hrs.
  2. Add potatoes to the same pot and cook until tender.  Remove from pot when tender and place in colander to drain and remove excess water.  Cut potatoes into desired serving sizes.
  3. Wash the Romano beans.  Put in second pot with cold water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes until soft and tender.  Drain and set aside. (Note from Lou:  if you are cooking fresh picked beans, the cooking time will be closer to 20 minutes; more than a day old, the beans will require longer cooking.  Check carefully so they do not overcook.
  4. Chop the tomatoes, peppers and red onion.
  5. Remove meat when tender, let cool slightly and then cut to desired thickness.  
  6. In a large bowl, place the Romano beans, tuna, potatoes and anchovies.
  7. Add tomatoes, peppers, and chopped onions.
  8. Sprinkle with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Toss, serve and enjoy!

For technique photos, please click here for photo gallery.


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