One of My Faves

July 1, 2012

Pre-2004, I was never really a fan of beans but then I encountered these particular beans and totally changed my mind. A lovely couple I met while attending band camp in Santa Barbara made these beans for a lil picnic they had at their beautiful home. I fell in love instantly and then kindly asked them for the recipe. 
These were a staple in my college years and I made them so much that I could make them by heart. Really, there isn't much to making them and I'm so glad I have a good memory because I lost the physical recipe in my move to Houston last year. 
What makes these beans so special? For one, they don't taste like beans. Blended with Italian spices and cheese, these Italian Picnic Beans taste just like pizza. And they're so easy to make! 

Italian Picnic Beans (aka Pizza Beans)
Serves 4-6

1 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each dried basil, oregano & thyme
2 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed
1 15-ounce can of Diced Tomatoes (can even use Italian Seasoned), drained
½ cup Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook 5 minutes of until soft. Add garlic and dried herbs and sauté 1 minute. Stir in beans and tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.
2. Transfer to oven safe casserole dish and stir in a ¼ cup of Parmesan Cheese. Bake for 15 minutes then sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cheese over top of beans. Bake for 5 minutes or until top is golden brown and liquid is absorbed. 

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