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Pork and white beans

Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian winter main course recipe for pork and white beans

By Rodney Dunn
  • Serves 4
Pork and white beans
Pork and white beans

You'll need to begin this recipe the day before.

White beans
Part of the kidney bean family, white beans can include haricot, cannellini, lima and butter beans. They need to be soaked prior to cooking and are a great all-purpose bean, perfectly at home in braises as they are in salads, soups and purées. White beans are smaller than cannellini beans, which are longer and kidney-shaped. Cannellini cook to a fluffy texture and are especially popular in Tuscany where the people are known as 'mangia fagioli', or bean eaters, due to the large amounts of beans they consume. Haricot or navy beans make excellent baked beans - most notably as part of the classic French cassoulet.


  • 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil (¼ cup)
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
  • 5 stalks thyme
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 250 ml red wine (1 cup)
  • 300 gm dried cannellini or haricot beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 10 cm piece of pork skin, rolled and tied with kitchen twine
  • 1 pig’s trotter, halved lengthways (see note)
  • 1 kg piece of pork belly, cut into 2cm thick slices
  • To serve: vincotto (see note)


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 150C. Heat olive oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chillies and herbs and sauté for 6 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, then add wine and simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add drained cannellini beans and stir to combine, then add pork skin, trotter and 500ml water, increase heat and bring to the boil. Place pork belly overlapping slightly into pan and press down to cover with liquid. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 2
    Cover with a lid and place into the oven. Cook for 3½-4 hours or until beans are tender and adjust seasoning. To serve, divide beans and pork among plates and drizzle with vincotto.


Note Ask your butcher to halve the pig's trotter for you. Vincotto is a syrup made by cooking freshly crushed grapes, available from delicatessens and specialty food stores.