Creamy White Beans with Pesto & Coppa Ham

I like keeping a variety of dried beans in my pantry.  A healthy add-in for soups, pasta dishes, and even main course ideas like hoppin’ john, red beans and rice, or even a Cuban paella.  For this side dish, I combined cooked cannellini beans with a touch of basil-walnut pesto for flavor, creamy mascarpone cheese for richness, and sauteed Coppa ham for crunch.  Pancetta, bacon, turkey bacon or even prosciutto crisps would work nicely as well.

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Creamy White Beans with Pesto & Coppa Ham

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Recipe type: Side dish


  • 1 cup dried white beans
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. sliced Coppa ham (or pancetta cubes, or sliced prosciutto), chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup store-bought or homemade pesto sauce, room temperature


  1. Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain and place in a medium saucepan along with 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer; cook for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender.
  2. In a small saute pan heat 1 Tablespoon of oil along with the garlic and chopped ham. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the ham is crisp.
  3. Place the cooked beans (drained of any residual water), ham and garlic, mascarpone cheese and pesto in a mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Taste, season with salt and pepper if needed, serve warm.

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