Makes about 8 cups
2 cups (1 pound) dried white beans
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bunches rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chunks of crusty bread for serving
Rinse and pick over the beans. Soak in water to cover by 2 inches for at least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours. Drain.
Put the garlic cloves in a small saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a full simmer over medium-high heat and then immediately drain. Return the garlic cloves to the saucepan. Cover with more cold water and repeat. Do this a total of 5 times. Set the blanched garlic cloves aside.
Put the beans in a stockpot or large saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a rapid simmer. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender but not mushy.
Drain the beans in a colander set over a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid. Transfer the beans to a blender or a food processor. Add the garlic cloves and puree until smooth, adding as much of the cooking liquid as necessary for a thick, spreadable, and dippable consistency.
Gently stir the bean dip with the rosemary bunches for about 3 minutes, or until the dip is fragrant with the scent of rosemary. Discard the rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with bread. Or, transfer to a lidded container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. To reheat, bring to a simmer over low heat.
Excerpted from Taste Pure and Simple: Irresistible Recipes for Good Food and Good Health by Michel Nischan, Chronicle Books, 2003. Copyright © 2003 by Michel Nischan.