Eating beans in the New Year for luck and prosperity is a custom in many cultures. This garlicy, cheesy casserole is a great side dish or a meal in itself, served with a crisp green salad. Thanks to viewer Ann McColm of Qualicum Beach for sending in the recipe!
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square pan.
Combine cheese with panko and set aside.
Take about one can’s worth of beans and place in a blender with stock, milk, one tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. You may also just mash the beans.
In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until starting to soften, about two minutes. Add garlic and stir in for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in white beans and the pureed bean mixture and heat until warm.
Pour bean mixture into prepared pan and cover with cheese and panko mixture. Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil, if desired, and bake for about 25 minutes, until top is golden-brown and bubbly.
Cook’s note: Put the fontina in the freezer for 15 minutes before grating to harden it up a bit.