Cannellini Bean Spread

The creamy texture of this smooth mellow spread makes it an appetizing alternative to butter. It's delicious smoothed on bagels or toast, or used as a dip for vegetables.

1  garlic clove, chopped
 {salt}, to taste
2 tablespoons untoasted pine nuts
1 can (15 ounces) cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
 squeeze of lemon
 freshly ground {black pepper}, to taste
In a food processor, combine the garlic, a pinch of salt, and the pine nuts and pulse for a few seconds. Add half the beans and the olive oil. Process until fairly smooth; the mixture will be a little dry. Add the remaining beans and 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water and process until smooth and creamy. If necessary, add more hot water.

If using parsley, add and pulse until just combined. Stir in the lemon juice (which adds a nice lift and brightens the flavor of the beans). Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle on the paprika, and let stand for at least 1 hour. Serve at room temperature.

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Preparation Time: 10 min
let stand for at least 1 hr

Servings: makes 2 cups

Recipe By: Toni Fiore

From:  Totally Vegetarian
Used with permission of Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group

Chef Suggestions
When in season, I like to add fresh tarragon, thyme, or parsley. I've also thrown in chopped Kalamata olives, which add an earthy salty twist and a bit of extra texture.