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!
Sundried Tomato Spread
serves 8 or more
Click here for the printable version on Tablespoon.com
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chopped basil
1/4 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.