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Earlier this month, I posted a Tuscan recipe from the Food Network for sausages and cannellini all’uccelletta that has always been one of our favorite weeknight dishes. However, I recently came across a variation on this recipe in Giuliano Hazan’s Every Night Italian.

The ingredients are almost identical, except for fresh sage leaves replacing fresh bay; however, in preparing this dish, Hazan skips the browning of the sausages and opts to braise them slowly along with the beans and tomatoes. (This also makes for a less messy stove top.)

This small variation makes for a big difference in taste. I found that both the sauce and the beans take on more flavor from the sausage and the sausages themselves are moister and richer in texture.

Of course, the southern Italian in me added just a pinch of Calabrian red-pepper flakes to spice things up a bit.

Beans and Sausage (Salsicce e Fagioli) adapted from Giuliano Hazan’s Every Night Italian.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
3 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 can (16 ounce) crushed Italian tomatoes
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch dried red-pepper flakes
1 pound sweet Italian pork sausages (without fennel seeds)

Put the olive oil and garlic in a heavy bottomed sauté pan large enough to hold the sausages in a single layer. Place it over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic cloves until lightly browned on all sides.

When the garlic has browned, discard it and add the chopped sage to the pan and cook stirring for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and beans. Season with salt and black pepper, keeping in mind that the sausages are already fairly salty. Add a pinch of dried red pepper flakes.

After adding the sausage to the pan

After adding the sausage to the pan

Add the sausage. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook at a gentle simmer until the sausages feel tender when pricked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Check the pan occasionally and add a little water if all the liquid in the pan evaporates before the sausages are done. Also turn the sausages once with tongs, being careful not to pierce them.

Serve hot, drizzled with additional extra virgin olive oil and accompanied by crusty bread.

Wine Pairing: Barbera d’Asti, Rosso di Montalcino

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