Italian Sausage and Cannellini Beans in Herbed Tomato Sauce
- 2 cups dried cannellini beans
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 1 tomato, cored and halved
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups crushed canned plum tomatoes with
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 package (2 lb. 3 oz.) Fra' Mani Italian sausage
Drain the beans, rinse well and place in a large saucepan. Add 7 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 4 of the sage leaves and the tomato halves. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Season with salt, then drain the beans. Remove and discard the sage leaves and tomato halves. Set the beans aside.
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the garlic, the remaining 4 sage leaves, the canned tomatoes with their juices and the red pepper flakes and cook just until simmering, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 350°F.
In a bistro pan or heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Place the sausage, bay leaf-side down, in the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the sausage over, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 for 12 minutes.
Transfer the sausage to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and serve with the cannellini beans. Serves 4 to 6.