I love hummus as much as the next gal, but I do get weary of the same old, same old chickpea version that is sold absolutely everywhere. Think I’m exaggerating? Costco sells big vats of it. If you’re American, you know that Costco is the quintessential definition of “everywhere.”
Ubiquitous hummus is not an altogether bad thing. It just needs a kick in the seat of the pants every once in awhile to give it some pizzaz. One way to change it up is to go the Tuscan route — use cannellini beans instead of traditional Mediterranean chickpeas. And gild the Italian lily by topping it with garlicky tomato “checca,” which is an Italian recipe of chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil. The recipe comes from California Pizza Kitchen.
It’s the checca that really sends this over the top. Served with the creamy cannellini hummus and toasted pita breads, it’s like having bruschetta in first-class instead of coach.
6 garlic cloves (original recipe calls for 8 to 10. Try at your own risk!)
2 (15 1/2-oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sesame paste (tahini)
3 T. olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water, as needed
Checca (Recipe below)
Toasted pita breads
Assorted sliced veggies, such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers
Finely chop garlic cloves in a food processor. Add cannellini beans and pulse a few times to chop them coarsely. Then, with the machine running, slowly add the tahini through the feed tube and puree the mixture. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil, lemon juice and soy sauce, stopping occasionally to scrape down the side of the bowl.
Stop the processor, open it and add the salt, cumin, coriander and cayenne. Process again until fully blended. If the puree seems too thick add some cold water. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
To serve, place hummus on a serving plate and top with the tomato checca. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with toasted pita and assorted veggies.
2 lb. Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. minced fresh basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Stir together tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil and refrigerate until ready to serve.