Last year, I came across a recipe for turkey sausages and cannellini beans all’uccelletta on The Cooking Channel’s show, Extra Virgin. It’s a classic Tuscan dish, where the beans are cooked in a similar fashion as one would small birds, that is, seasoned with sage or, as in this case, with fresh bay leaves.

We enjoyed this dish a lot; but after experimenting with it, I developed my own recipe, using sweet Italian pork sausages and canned crushed Italian tomatoes rather than fresh cherry tomatoes.

Enjoy this dish all year round, served with crusty Italian bread to sop up the sauce.

2 tablespoons olive oil
8  sweet Italian pork sausages
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 28-ounce can crushed Italian tomatoes
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 fresh bay leaves
small pinch fennel pollen (optional)
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat a sauté pan large enough to hold the sausages in a single layer over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to heat. Once hot, add the sausages and brown on all sides, for about 10 minutes total. Remove the sausages from the pan to plate and reserve.

Add the garlic, and sauté just until golden. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chopped tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. (When seasoning, be aware that the sausages may already contain salt.) Lower the flame, and cover the pan with a lid, simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have thickened to a sauce-like consistency.

Add the browned sausages (and any juice left on the plate), the beans, bay leaves, and optional fennel pollen to the thickened tomatoes. Stir well and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the chopped parsley before serving.

For those interested in the original Cooking Channel recipe, here’s a to that recipe.

Wine Pairing: Chianti Classico, Sangiovese, Merlot

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