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Love:

At the request of my sweet husband I’m going to start this post in the ‘love’ department. The idea for this recipe has been swimming around in my head since we got back from Italy. We were in Italy to attend the Slow Food International Conference Terre Madre, as I was chosen to be a USA Delegate at this years Conference. The mission of Slow Food and Terre Madre is good, clean and fair food for all, something I try to practice on a daily basis in my kitchen. While in Italy I was surrounded by great food but I was missing the plant-based diet I’m used to eating at home, and I was just missing home. Towards the end of our trip while in Florence we stumbled upon this family style hole in the wall restaurant. At the bottom at their menu listed “sides” I found white beans in tomato sauce and braised kale, I thought I had died and gone to Italy food heaven. Needless to say they were a great choice and I haven’t forgotten those dishes since I’ve been home. Fast forward just a bit to the week before Christmas, I had put together the grocery list for the upcoming weekend events and the Christmas Eve breakfast I was hosting. We always have Christmas morning at my in-laws and for some reason I totally forgot about Christmas night! I was not about to go back to the grocery store so I started to take inventory of my pantry and refrigerator and realized I had all the makings of this dish, I couldn’t have been happier. I found dried beans, my own canned tomatoes, leftover Clifford Farm bacon (from a dish I had made for a party earlier in the weekend), kale, farro, herbs a and just enough vodka for my Pasta alla Vodka sauce. Lucky us, this dish was warm, comforting and felt like home. This dish just might be a new Christmas dinner tradition for us. ENJOY!

Food:

For the sauce-

I used my previous recipe for Pasta alla Vodka

After you have gotten all the ingredients together and they begin to simmer, add the cooked white beans and let the beans simmer in the sauce while it thickens.

For the beans-

1. Place 1 1/2c. dry white beans (also called northern beans) in a bowl and cover with water over night at least 12 hours.

2. The next day drain the beans, place the beans in a large pot and cover with just enough water to cover. Turn on high, when the beans come to a boil- boil for 5 minutes with the lid off and skim off any foam. After that 5 minutes turn the heat down to low, place the lid on and simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.

3. Keep checking on the beans by spooning out a few, if they smash easily with your thumb they are done. Let cool and drain. Can be used right away or refrigerated up to a week. Check out my other recipe for cooked beans here.

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Putting it all together-

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Cooked farro (I wanted to make creamy polenta but didn’t have any, lucky for me I brought farro back from Italy).

Laddle the Pork and Beans over the farro, drizzle with olive oil, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and top with Kale Chips.

Nutrition:

I believe eating a plant-based diet is essential to our over all health. Eating this way forces you to have a varied diet of non-glutenious grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. Meat and dairy only playing a small part, and hopefully those items are sustainable, local and organic. EAT MORE PLANTS in 2013.

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