It takes a smidge of foresight to soak beans, but don’t let that turn you off. People, you literally just dump the beans into a bowl and pour water over them. I happen to love cooking beans; they’re easy, economical, and oh-so-tasty. If you’re not convinced, by all means, use canned– lord knows I do all the time. That said, it’s hard to beat the flavor of these slow-cooked chickpeas.
Dump the beans into a big bowl and soak them for at least 4 hours, or as long as overnight. When you’re ready to cook, drain the beans and put them into a large saucepan with enough room to cover with water by 2 inches. They need enough room to move and dance around in the pot of water. Add the garlic, sage leaves, fennel bulb, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook until tender, which will take about 2 hours on the stovetop (or about 5 hours on low in the slow-cooker). Remove from the heat, and add the olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes. At this point, you can serve immediately, or pull them off the stovetop and check the brininess of the cooking liquid. Make sure it is good and salty like the ocean. You can store the beans in this liquid for about a week. If you’re making this ahead, reheat the beans before continuing to the next step.
Put a handful of arugula in the bottom of 4 bowls. Squeeze lemon over each bowl and give it a toss. Spoon warm garbanzo beans over the greens, allowing them to wilt a little. Add as much grated Parmesan as desired. Also tastes wonderful with a little shaved Pecorino cheese. Serve immediately. Savor with delight and gratitude.