Play Me a Recipe

Rebecca Firkser makes Big Bean Sorta-Scampi With Linguine

Episode Summary

Shrimp scampi is delicious—but shrimp is expensive, and so is wine. So when Food52 editor, Rebecca Firkser wants to channel those buttery, garlicky flavors on a budget, she turns to big beans.

Episode Notes

On Play Me a Recipe, your favorite cooks will walk you through their most treasured recipes, offering all the insider tips, stories, and tricks you won't get from a written recipe—and you'll be right alongside them, every step of the way. Feel free to pause, jump back, or navigate the steps via the podcast chapters (if you're in Apple Podcasts, swipe up on the episode player page—the podcast chapters will be at the bottom).  

If you're cooking along, here's the recipe we're making today. Go ahead and grab the ingredients below (Rebecca starts listing them at :55) before starting the episode.

Big Bean Sorta-Scampi With Linguine

Serves 4

  1. If using canned beans (see Author Notes on Food52), skip to Step 3 (you’ll also skip 3 of the garlic cloves). Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Smash and peel 3 garlic cloves and use a peeler to remove 3 long pieces of zest from the lemon. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat and add the garlic and zest. Cook just until the garlic is starting to take on color on both sides, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans, then transfer to the pot and cover with 3 inches of water. Stir in 1½ tablespoons of salt and lots of black pepper.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover the pot. Cook, checking every 40 minutes or so to replace water that evaporates, until the beans are creamy all the way through, about 2 to 3 hours depending on the bean size and age.
  3. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, then stir in the vinegar. Smash any large chunks of garlic into the broth and pluck out the lemon peels if you’d like (they’re slightly bitter but totally edible). Drain the broth into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup and transfer the beans to a bowl. Alternatively, if making in advance, store the beans in their broth in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week.
  4. Wipe out the Dutch oven and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the over medium heat. Add the panko to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the panko turns golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and use a microplane to grate the remaining zest of the lemon into the pot. Stir to combine and transfer to a plate.
  5. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter in the first Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, then use a microplane to grate 5 cloves of garlic into the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion has softened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes and fish sauce if using.
  6. Add 1 cup of the bean broth to the onion mixture and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the sauce reduces by about one-third, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  7. Cook the pasta in the boiling water for about 3 minutes less than what the box says for al dente. (It will cook more in the sauce!)
  8. Return the Dutch oven to medium heat and use tongs to transfer the pasta to the sauce. Add all but a handful of the parsley. Halve the zested lemon and juice half of it into the pot. Cut the remaining lemon half into wedges for serving. Toss aggressively with the tongs, cooking for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until combined and the sauce clings to the noodles. Gently toss in the beans. Cut the heat. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and pepper flakes as needed.
  9. Transfer the pasta to a large shallow serving bowl (or individual bowls). Top with reserved parsley and the toasted breadcrumbs.