Happy Summer! Here’s a dish that’s so simple it can be prepped and cooked within 15 minutes, and eaten at any temperature. It works as well for a crowd as it does for a simple weeknight side dish. There’s really not much a of a recipe, but I love the story behind it so I’ll share that, along with the instructions on how to make it below. I made it this weekend for a Sunday family dinner and it was all devoured which made me only a little sad because there were no leftovers.
This time last year we were just starting on a two week holiday in Italy. One of the cities we visited was Sienna, home to a stunning Gothic cathedral, a medieval piazza known for its famous horse race called the palio, and the actual head of St. Catherine (on view in a box in the Basilica of San Domenico). For us, it’s where we had an unforgettable lunch in a one tiny hole-in-the wall osteria.
We wanted something simple and inexpensive for lunch and Osteria Vinaio Da Trombiche fit the bill. This place is tiny; maybe 5 tables/16 seats total and a little bar with cold case. It’s more of a bar with food than a restaurant, similar to a Spanish tapas bar.
We ordered an assortment of small dishes; mixed marinated vegetables, roasted garbanzo beans in olive oil and rosemary, a pasta with arugula pesto, zucchini stuffed with pork sausage,and an incredibly creamy artichoke flan. With a big bottle of water, a beer and 1/4 liter of house white wine, lunch was a reasonable 40 euro. Our “simple” lunch grew into quite a meal, but it was worth it. I knew when we got home I’d want to recreate several of these dishes and since then, I’ve made these garbanzo beans many times.
One caveat for food snobs; because the place is so small, and all the food is prepared in a case in the front, this means most of the food reheated to order (if needed) or served cold. But seriously, it didn’t matter because everything was delicious. They also had a gorgeous cheese and meat platter which we saw on another table, but did not order. The owners were nothing but warm and friendly to us and even offered us some complimentary after-lunch glasses of Vin Santo.
Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Pat dry as much as possible with a paper towel.
Slice the garlic. Pull the leaves off the rosemary branches and roughly chop, reserving a few small branches with leaves for garnish.
Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat and add half of the olive oil. Add in the garbanzo beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the sliced garlic and chopped rosemary. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook until the garbanzos begin to brown just slightly. Add the rest of the olive oil and cook another minute or two. Add more oil if needed (you don't want them dry). Season well with salt and pepper.
Garnish with the reserved rosemary and an extra sprinkle of salt. Serve warm or cold. When warm there should be plenty of olive oil in the serving dish to keep the garbanzo beans moist (if not, add more). Serve with a slotted spoon.