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Italian Baked Beans with Tomatoes and Ham or Bacon

Fagioli al Forno

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Tuscany

This is a hearty, winter day’s Italian recipe for beans and meat. It actually tastes better the next day.

Serves: 6 to 8
Cooking time: 60 min
You need: an oven proof casserole or dutch oven
Notes: requires soaking overnight


  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) dried small white beans
  • 1 large smoked ham hock, or @100g (1⁄4 Lb) bacon
  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, white parts only, cut into thin slices
    • or 1 large onion, cut into very thin slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Put the beans in a bowl, add enough water to cover them by at least 5 cm or 2 inches (or more, you can’t go wrong here) and soak them for anywhere between 12hrs and 24hrs. (The more you soak them, the better.)
  2. Feel free to change the water when you remember doing it. Changing the water helps in getting rid of the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients more effectively.
  1. Next day: drain the beans and transfer them to a big enough, ovenproof casserole.
  2. Turn on the oven to 160C / 325F so that it starts preheating.
  3. If you are using a ham hock: scrape it if necessary and scald it with boiling water.
  4. If you are using bacon: tie the slices together with a string. (You’ll remove the string later.)
  5. Add the ham hock or bacon, the tomatoes, the leek or onion, the garlic and the olive oil to the beans.
  6. Add your salt and pepper and stir.
  7. Put the casserole on the stove.
  8. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 fingers / 1 inch.
  9. Bring it to boil.
  10. Cover the casserole with the lid and transfer it to the preheated oven (160C / 325°F).
  11. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the beans.
  12. At serving time remove the ham hock or bacon and cut it. You can then use it either as a side dish or mix it in with the beans – your choice.

Notes on Italian Baked Beans with Tomatoes and Ham or Bacon

  • Check for moisture from time to time. If the beans look too dry then add a little hot water, 1/4 glass (cup) at a time. If they look like soup then uncover the casserole to help the liquid evaporate.
  • You can use a dutch oven instead of a casserole.

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