White Beans in Herbed Tomato Sauce with Fresh Sausages

Paolo Destefanis

Some Italian cooks like to leave the sausages whole; other variations of this Tuscan classic call for crumbling the sausages.

White Beans in Herbed Tomato Sauce with Fresh Sausages (Fagioli all'Uccelletto con Salsicce)
This savory recipe highlights the Tuscan affinity for white beans.
Yield: serves 4-8

Ingredients

  • 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 puree
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  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.
  3. Add reserved beans and tomato puree, 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.