An Italian classic with a bean & leek twist

Enjoy this little twist of cacio e pepe beans with baked leeks.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Serves: 2 -3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Ideal for: midweek meal, vegetarian, meat-free

Cannellini beans

Beans, beans, beans.

I’m in love with beans.

Cheap and easy to cook, I always have them in our cupboard – tinned and dried beans.

Cannellini beans are from Italy and are creamy white in colour.

They’re perfect for stews, soups and salads and when you cooked them they have a fluffy texture and a slightly nutty, mild flavour.


Cacio e Pepe

In this dish, the mighty cannellini bean has bean braised in chicken stock (switch out for veggie stock to keep it meat-free).

Cacio e pepe, literally ‘cheese and pepper’, is a true Italian classic.

It’s like mac n’ cheese done with Italian style and simplicity, using pecorino, black pepper and usually spaghetti.

In this recipe, we use beans instead of pasta and add a few other little twists.

Cacio e Pepe beans with baked leeks

This recipe is from Bold Beans who got the recipe from Klara

For the beans

  • 500ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 shallot
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • bulb of garlic, halved
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 4 sprigs of fresh tarragon
  • 1 lemon
  • 50 grams of grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Baked leeks

  • 4-6 small leeks
  • 30g butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 70ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins, such as haricot or cannellini. (I use 1 x 700g jar of Bold Bean Co. White Beans – btw, I don’t get paid by them, I just like them 🙂


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. In a muslin bag put all the herbs and spices (except tarragon) and the shallot + tie it up with some string. Set aside
  3. Add beans and their liquid to a medium-sized saucepan.
  4. Pour over half of the chicken (or veg stock) and the little bag of spices. Let it all simmer on low heat.
  5. Cut the leeks into approx. 12cm batons. Line an ovenproof dish and put the leeks on top with the butter and thyme sprigs. Pour over the remaining stock and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cover the leeks with one layer of parchment paper just as a tight lid so they steam.
  7. Check the leeks after 25 minutes – you want them to be soft but not falling apart completely.
  8. Remove the spice bag from the beans and season to taste, add a squeeze of lemon, and grated parmesan and top with the chopped tarragon.
  9. Remove the leeks from the oven and on a large platter place the beans and the leeks on top. Grate lemon zest, add a good glug of good olive oil, and some extra parmesan.

For more lovely bean dishes, visit here

Cacio e Pepe beans with baked leeks