The first time I saw this white bean spread was at a restaurant called Quartino, and I have been dreaming about it ever since. A have a monthly dinner date with my friend Anna, whom I've known since we were 10- that's almost 16 years for those of you doing the math. We met at DAY CAMP one summer and have been best friends ever since. Our dinners are spent catching up, eating as much as we can, and sharing at least 1 bottle of wine. It's indulgent, but it's tradition. We like to try out different restaurants and neighborhoods, but we do have a few favorites that we keep on rotation. Of these, is Quartino- an Italian shared plates spot and wine bar in River North, Chicago. Good food, good ambiance, relatively inexpensive drinks- we love it. So anyway, their white bean and garlic spread is aaaamazing, and I have been dying to recreate it.
This is a simple spread that takes just a few minutes to whip up. It's got a subtle, sweet, garlicky flavor, and is silky smooth and spreadable. Here I served it with some homemade veggie chips, and had some on wheat toast for breakfast the next day. But I will tell you, it's best on a warm, flaky, golden crostini, which is exactly how they serve it at Quartino. They also serve it with very thin slices of spiiicy red peppers. The pairing of that creamy, silky, light spread with the heat of the peppers is literally brilliant. I didn't have any fresh red peppers, so I used some red pepper flakes. At the restaurant, I dip my crostini slices in balsamic vinegar before topping it with the bean spread and pepper slice- I love that balance of sweet acidity with the creamy spread and the spicy peppers. It is perfection. So when I made this at home, I was sure to top it with some balsamic glaze to keep the tradition alive.
Recipe after the jump :)
• 1 can cannellini beans (15.5 oz), drained and rinsed
• 3 garlic cloves
• 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
• Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
• Drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap garlic cloves (peel still on) in aluminum foil and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until your kitchen smells DIVINE and the cloves are creamy and golden
• Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until silky smooth. Add a bit of water if necessary.
• Serve on base of choice :)
Hi! I'm Shantal.