Fagioli Agrodulce

Agrodulce, literally strong-sweet in Italian, comes close to the classic flavor of baked beans, but with a bit more tang. The sour comes from vinegar, and since cooking beans with anything acidic leaves them tough, you need to cook the beans until tender without it.

Cook a pound of good dried beans (I use small red beans), with salt, olive oil, and enough water to cover by an inch or more in a covered pot in a 200F oven for at least few hours or until they’re tender (add more water if necessary; if you smell beans, that usually means the need some).

Make the agrodulce in the same oven or cook it on the stovetop. Chop a couple of onions and combine them with about a half cup of honey, a cup of Katz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc or Zinfandel vinegar, a big handful of fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped, and more olive oil. Simmer on the stovetop for at least an hour, then cook with the beans for another hour.