How to Cook La Valletta Dried Beans
Market Hall Foods has just brought in a new line of dried beans, peas and lentils from Italian producer La Valletta. Founded by Antonio and Adriana Cappelletti in 1985, La Valletta is based in Colfiorito, a village in the Umbria-Marche Apennine mountains. La Valletta is now run by the second and third generations of Cappellettis, who still use traditional farming methods to grow a wide-variety of legumes.
La Valletta's care and attention to detail result in beautiful, flavorful legumes that can be tasted in every pot of lentils, chickpeas, borlotti beans, roveja peas, cicerchia peas and cannellini beans. But for these dried, thin-skinned legumes to achieve that desired firm bite—and not just turn into a pot full of mush—they must be cooked properly. As La Valletta's packaging is written in Italian and does not currently have English translations, we wanted to share easy cooking instructions here with you.
Using the instructions on slow-cooking dried legumes from Manicaretti founder Rolando Baramendi's cookbook Autentico: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way, we also include specific cooking times for each La Valletta legume varietal. Happy cooking!
Dried legume cooking instructions
- Soak legumes in water for 12 hours or overnight (Lentils do not require pre-soaking; Roveja peas should be soaked for 24 hours).
- Drain and rinse legumes in a colander.
- Add the legumes to a large pot with water with about three inches of liquid covering the tops of the beans.
- Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon Tellicherry black peppercorns, 1 garlic clove, a sprig each of sage and rosemary, and a bay leaf. Do not add salt until after legumes are finished cooking.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Do not stir, which may cause the legumes to break. Instead, gently swirl or shake the pot.
- At around 30 minutes (20 minutes, for lentils), start tasting the legumes to check for doneness. See below for estimated cooking times for specific La Valletta legumes. Evenly cooked legumes will have a firm bite with a creamy texture. Once you achieve this consistency, turn off the heat and let the legumes cool in the liquid. This is when you can add salt to taste.
- Once cool, refrigerate legumes in their cooking broth.
Estimated cooking times for La Valletta legumes
Umbrian Lentils: 20-30 minutes
Borlotti Beans: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Cannellini Beans: 1 hour
Chickpeas: 2 hours
Cicerchia Peas: 2 hour
Roveja Peas: 4 hours