Cristina Ferrare’s White Bean Puree



  • 2 cups fresh white beans, or 2-15-ounce cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
  • Cracked pepper
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves pulled off
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 6 lemon wedges for garnish
  • 1 baguette, cut into 16 1/4-inch slices


  1. Soak the fresh beans overnight, or for a quick soak bring the beans to a boil, covering the beans by 4 inches. Turn off-the heat and let sit for an hour. Drain and rinse under cool water. Pour the beans back into stockpot.
  1. Fill a large stockpot with cool water, covering the beans by 4 inches. Do not add salt to the water as this will make the beans tough. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle boil, cover and cook until the beans are tender, usually 90 minutes for soaked beans (2 hours or more for beans that haven’t been soaked). Taste test to see if the beans are tender. If they’re not yet tender, cook until they are, checking every 15 minutes. Be careful to not overcook, or the beans will fall apart. If the beans have soaked up to much water while cooking that they’re not longer covered by at least 4 inches of water, add more water.
  1. Place the beans, 3/4 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon salt if using canned beans), pepper to taste, scallion, and lemon juice in a food processor. Start to slowly add the oil, and precess until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt in necessary.
  1. Pour into a serving bowl, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil over the top. Sprinkle on a pinch of kosher salt, cracked pepper, and fresh chopped thyme leaves. Garnish with fresh basil and lemon wedges.
  1. Serve with baguette slices, crostini, or crackers.

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