Cheesy baked beans in tomato sauce
An easy and comforting dinner that comes together quickly during the week. The anchovies dissolve and add a savory complexity. Skip them if you’d like a vegetarian option, and if you’re an anchovy skeptic, know that the anchovies are not overpowering when cooked this way! For a complete meal, serve alongside garlicky broccoli rabe, and over a pile of orzo or with crusty bread.
- Serves: 3-4
- Time: 20 minutes (plus bean cooking)
- Cookware: Large skillet (preferably ovenproof), baking dish (if your skillet isn't oven proof), bean cooking vessel of your choice
What you'll need
- ½ lb dried beans (makes ~3-½ cups cooked)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 4 anchovy fillets
- ¼ tsp dried chile flakes
- A few sprigs of fresh hardy herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or oregano
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 14-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with their juices
- ⅓ lb mozzarella, coarsely grated
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for serving
Prepare the beans: Cook beans according to the Primary Beans cooking guide in the cooking vessel of your choice. Once cooked, strain and set aside to cool (do not discard the bean broth).
Make the sauce: Meanwhile, heat a good glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it’s soft and fragrant. Smash with a wooden spoon, add the anchovy, and let it dissolve until the oil. Add chile flakes and herbs, if using. Add tomatoes and their juices, breaking them up with your hands as you add them (chunks should be small). Cook until thickened, ~15-20 minutes. Remove the herb sprigs and fold in the strained beans once they're cooked. Season generously with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Assemble and bake: Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and shake to settle the beans. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake until bubbling and the cheese has melted and browned in spots, ~15 minutes. Add bean broth as needed if the beans seem to be getting dry. Cover loosely with foil if the cheese is toasting more than you’d like. Serve hot with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.