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Italian Sausage and Cannellini Beans in Herbed Tomato Sauce

Italian Sausage and Cannellini Beans in Herbed Tomato Sauce
In Italy, white beans simmered with tomatoes and sage are known as fagioli all'uccelletto (in the manner of little birds). They are a classic accompaniment to sausages and other meats.

Ingredients:

  • 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
      juices
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 package (2 lb. 3 oz.) Fra' Mani Italian sausage

Directions:

Pick over the beans, discarding any misshapen beans and stones. Rinse the beans and drain. Place in a large bowl, add water to cover generously and let soak overnight.

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.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.