When I gave Andy his choices of what I was to make this past Sunday, he didn't sound thrilled with any of the choices whatsoever. I was for certain he was going to pick the ribs, but no ribs. I guess he didn't like the last time I made ribs (too much fennel in the rub overpowered the ribs, my own fault of course). So he reluctantly said the sausages and beans. I find myself using Cannelini beans a lot lately, and why not? They're full of nutrients and way cheap. Bon Appetit featured this recipe in it's October 2009 issue in a series of 10 rustic Italian recipes using the beans.
adapted from Sausages w/ White Beans in Tomato Sauce from Bon Appetit Oct 2009
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4-5 hot Italian sausages, cut in half
2 15 oz cans Cannelini beans
1 cup plus more of chicken stock
2-4 fresh sage leaves
1 15 oz. can whole tomatoes plus juice
1 cup elbow macaroni
salt and pepper to taste
The original recipe said to use whole dry beans and cook them in this flavorful broth. One problem… I couldn't find dry cannelini/kidney beans for the life of me. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but I made do with what I COULD find and used the canned beans and made my own little simmering broth.
Combine the beans, chicken stock, 1 sage leave, and 1 crushed garlic clove (or more if you want). You want to make sure the stock covers the beans by at least 2/3. Then let that come to a boil and simmer on the stove for about 10-15 minutes. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavor will penetrate the beans, but if you let it sit too long, you end up with little or no liquid, so just watch it carefully and you be the judge.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and over medium heat add the garlic. Saute until slightly brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sausages and cook until browned, 5 minutes or so. Add 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid (or water), tomatoes, and the rest of the sage to the pan. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the beans, along with the rest of the liquid (should be about a cup or so). Cover the pan with aluminum foil or a lid and let simmer under medium heat for about 30 minutes. About halfway through, about 15 minutes, add the elbow macaroni and cover again to resume simmering.
After the 30 minutes, uncover and you can keep simmering if you want the sauce to slightly thicken, or you can serve right away after adding salt and pepper to taste. I didn't simmer for any longer because I found that the macaroni absorbed a lot of liquid and in itself somewhat thickened the mixture.
Serve while hot and garnish with either sage leaves or parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
And once again, I prove Andy wrong. He found that the beans were quite flavorful and actually enjoyed the meal! What can I say…