Baked Lima Beans Parmigiana

MAKES: 6 servings

TIME: 40 to 60 minutes

The slightly grainy texture of limas works perfectly with cheese, but you can use virtually any fresh or cooked dried bean. In any case, the trick is to make sure the beans skins have not yet burst so they remain intact during cooking.

This dish makes the case for cooking extra of staples like tomato sauce and beans and keeping them handy in the fridge, because its a snap when you’ve prepared these two main components up to three days ahead.

You need little more than crusty bread and a salad to make this a meal, but you can also serve it with plain rice or over pasta.

Other beans you can use: fresh fava beans or edamame, cooked cannellini or gigante beans, or cooked chickpeas.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 recipe Fast Tomato Sauce, well seasoned and warmed

4 cups fresh, thawed frozen, or cooked dried lima beans

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cubed mozzarella, preferably fresh

1 cup Fresh Bread Crumbs, or plain store-bought crumbs

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400В°F. Use a tablespoon or so of the oil to grease a 2-quart souff or gratin dish or a 9 — 13-inch baking dish.

Spread the tomato sauce in the dish and spoon the beans on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the mozzarella cubes around evenly, pressing them into the sauce and beans a bit. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs, then the Parmesan, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Bake until the cheese has melted, the sauce is bubbly, and the bread crumbs are browned, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your dish. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with parsley and a few more grinds of black pepper if you like, and serve.

Variation

Baked Lima or Fava Beans with Ricotta and Parmesan. Basically a noodleless lasagne: Use either lima or fresh fava beans and 1 cup ricotta cheese instead of the mozzarella. In Step 2, spoon small dollops of ricotta around the beans, then proceed with the recipe. If you like, garnish with chopped fresh basil leaves instead of the parsley.