Beans, Beans, the Wonderful Fruit...

Continuing on in the theme of dishes inspired by the expensive Italian charcuterie I was able to pick up at Fox and Obel earlier this week, I decided to try out another unusual pizza recipe that I spotted when I was culling my collection of cooking magazines before we moved. Like the sweet potato pizza I tried last month, this recipe eschewed the traditional topping of tomato sauce in favor of a quick mash-up of white beans, garlic, and herbs. The idea of beans on pizza seemed a little out-there, but on the heels of yesterday's wildly successful orange pasta, I was feeling brave.

Since we'd frozen our leftover pizza dough from our last pizza-baking venture, this dish came together so quickly that I could have saved it to make on a busy weeknight. And just like the pasta, this recipe was definitely a keeper. The carbs-on-carbs aspect of the dish didn't bother me, a consummate carbohydraterian, but the addition of smoky, salty pancetta was what really made the dish. The bean layer was perhaps a little too thick, so I've reduced the amounts in the recipe below, but it was perfectly seasoned with a generous amount of garlic, rosemary, and a hint of crushed red pepper for kick. 

If you substitute bacon for pancetta (though I really recommend the pancetta if you can find it) and mozzarella for the fontina cheese, you could probably make this dish using ingredients you already have in your fridge. We could probably all use a little more fiber in our diets, so go ahead and give this recipe a try -- it will turn out better than you think!

White Bean and Pancetta Pizza
adapted from Food and Wine

4 oz. pancetta, cut into 1x1/4-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 oz. fontina cheese
1 12-inch pizza crust, par-baked

Preheat the oven to 450.

In a skillet, cook the pancetta in 2 tablespoons of oil over moderate heat, until crisp; transfer to a plate. Add the garlic, rosemary and crushed pepper to the skillet and cook for 20 seconds. Mash in the beans. Stir in the pancetta; season with salt.  Brush the crust with oil and spread with the bean mixture. Top with the cheese. Bake the pizza until the cheese is bubbling, 7-10 minutes; slice and serve.

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