Cacio e Pepe Beans with Baked Leeks

Recipe and words by Klara Risberg

I am a huge fan of all beans, the world needs to fully embrace this little pulse of joy. They are incredibly versatile and so nutritious, yet very easy to succeed with. These cannellini beans have been braised in a rich parmesan and chicken broth but can of course be braised in vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian. Whilst it isn’t a true Cacio e Pepe seasoning the main ingredients are grated cheese, freshly cracked black pepper and broth (instead of starchy pasta water). 

Eat the beans and leeks with freshly baked bread or serve as a side dish. This is also a perfect way to use up all those parmesan rinds you should always be saving and stockpile in your freezer. I use a muslin bag for the herbs and spices which I recommend to keep the broth clear.

For the beans

1 jar of white any beans (usually comes in a 700g jar)

3-5 parmesan rinds 

500ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock

1 shallot onion

5 sprigs of thyme 

1 dried red chilli

1 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

Salt and pepper

Baked leeks 

4-6 small leeks

30g butter

1 lemon

4 sprigs of thyme 

70ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and pepper 

Set your oven to 180 degrees. Start with prepping the muslin bag of spices by simply putting all the herbs, except tarragon, and spices, garlic and the shallot and tie it up with some string. Add beans and the bean liquid to a medium sized saucepan, pour over the stock, add parmesan rinds and the little bag of spices. Let it all simmer on a low heat whilst you start the leeks. 

Trim the leeks and peel of any dry layers, cut in 12cm batons, place in an ovenproof dish dressed with parchment paper. Place the leeks in the dish, pour over the stock, thyme and cold butter, season with salt and pepper. Cover the leeks with one layer of parchment paper just as a tight lid. This way the leek with steam in it’s own juices. Check the leeks after 25 minutes, you want them to be soft but not falling apart completely. If not there yet just give them another five minutes. 


By now the beans should be braising away nicely and liquid reduced. Remove the spice bag and give it a little taste and start seasoning with salt and pepper, lemon juice and grated cheese, add chopped tarragon. Remove the leeks from the oven and add all the juices to the beans. 

I like to serve the beans in a shallow platter with the leeks on top, grated lemon zest, a good glug of good olive oil and an extra grating of parmesan.

For more of Klara's amazing recipes, visit her website and her Instagram, and visit our other posts on The Cut!

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