- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 200ml cold water + 1-2 tbsp cold water (optional)
- 1 garlic clove
- A handful of basil
- 2 x 400g tins of cannellini beans
- 2 x 400g borlotti beans
- 1 tbsp Italian herb blend
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 50g breadcrumbs
1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Trim and peel the carrot, then dice it to match. Trim the dry ends off the celery stick then finely slice it. Put a large pan on a medium heat for 2 mins, then add 1 tsp olive oil and the diced veg. Season with salt and pepper and fry, stirring often, for 8-10 mins till the veg are glossy and starting to soften. If they brown and dry out, turn the heat down and add 1-2 tbsp water.
2. While the veg fry, peel and grate or crush the garlic. Finely chop the basil stalks and set the leaves aside for later. Drain the cannellini and borlotti beans and rinse them.
3. Add the garlic and parsley stalks to the veg, along with 1 tbsp Italian herb blend and cook, stirring, for 2 mins till the pan smells aromatic. Tip in the beans, then tip in the chopped tomatoes with basil. Half fill the tin with water (around 200ml) and add that to the pan. Stir to mix, then cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil. Once the pan bubbles, turn the heat down and simmer for 20 mins. Stir every now and then till the sauce thickens a little.
4. While the beans simmer, finely chop the basil leaves. Stir most of the into the breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Preheat your grill to high. Taste the beans and add a pinch more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Spoon the beans into an ovenproof dish (or 2 individual dishes) and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Slide under the grill for 5-6 mins till golden and bubbling.
6. Cool the bean gratin for a few mins, then serve in bowls garnished with the remaining chopped basil.