Sundried tomatoes are one of my favorite ingredients. Ever since college, when I first started making versions of sundried tomato pasta, I have been a huge, huge fan. So, whenever I see an alluring package of little, flat dried tomatoes, I have to buy them and use them. They are good in everything from pesto to foccacia to meatballs … and many things in between.
This past weekend, some good friends visited from New York and I wanted to make a few good dishes for them. But, the dishes needed to be mostly cook-ahead — I wanted to enjoy the company, not slave in the kitchen while they were there. On the menu was this spread: a high-flavor mix of white beans, sundried tomatoes, garlic and basil. Not only is it really tasty, but it’s also a cinch to make.
To make this, you start with some hot olive oil. Toss in some crushed garlic, chopped basil and chopped sundried tomatoes and let it simmer for a few minutes to bring out the flavor. I love the scent that is produced while the mixture is cooking. It’s positively intoxicating. Now, the sundried tomatoes I use are dry-packed. They’re simply my favorite — and I may or may not actually snack on them from time to time. Just sayin’.
Next, you toss the beans with the sundried tomato mixture — just enough to coat them. I use Great Northern beans in this recipe because I like the meaty taste of them. But if you prefer, you could use a different white bean.
Finally, everything gets poured into a food processor. Oil, tomatoes, garlic – the works. You whirl it around a bit until the beans are totally pulverized and it’s got an even, thick texture. Remember, this is a spread so it’s supposed to be pretty thick.
Transfer it to a bowl and serve it up with some thin slices of French bread. If you want, you can put some pretty basil leaves on top and drizzle it with a little (very good) olive oil, just before serving. Make sure you have a knife or spreader handy so everyone can help themselves.
What do you like to make when guests visit? Share in the comments!
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp chopped basil
- ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add garlic, basil and sundried tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Simmer for five minutes.
- Add the beans and toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor.Pulse until well combined.
- Serve with thin slices of French bread.