SERVES 4 – 8
Some Italian cooks like to leave the sausages whole; other variations of this Tuscan classic call for crumbling the sausages.
1 lb. dried zolfini or cannellini beans
5 tbsp. fruity extra-virgin olive oil
8 sweet Italian sausages
4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
3–4 canned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 cup tomato purée
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook beans according to recipe for Tuscan-Style White Beans, Reserve, and set aside 1⁄2 cup cooking liquid.
2. Heat 1 tbsp. of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, and fry sausages until lightly browned, 3–4 minutes per side. Add reserved cooking liquid, remaining 4 tbsp. oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and red pepper flakes, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
4. Add reserved beans and tomato purée, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer, occasionally stirring gently, taking care not to break up the beans, until sausage is cooked and sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.