Their bond was forged by beans. Steve Sando, proprietor of Napa’s Rancho Gordo, struck up a friendship with Marcella Hazan after the Italian cooking legend ordered some beans from Rancho Gordo, a supplier of heirloom beans and other specialty foods. Sando ultimately grew a bean in her honor, a variety of cannellini similar to a rare bean found in Tuscany. Hazan unfortunately passed away as the project unfolded, and Sando named his “Marcella” beans as a tribute to her. This thin-skinned bean requires a slow, gentle cooking time, and Sando recommends pairing the finished beans with a drizzle of olive oil and light dusting of Parmesan cheese. At just $6.95 per pound, they’re a perfect stocking stuffer or fixture for your own cooking session. Order them at www.ranchogordo.com.