BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

June 5 2012

Italian Sausage and Cannellini Beans

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2 lbs Italian Sausage (any brand)
2 cups dry cannellini beans
5 fresh sage leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped
large pinch of red pepper flakes
16 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried basil or 1 tbsp. fresh leaves
pinch of oregano
1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 cups low sodium chicken broth

Rinse and soak beans overnight in enough water to cover plus 2-3 inches. The next day, drain and rinse in cold water. Drain in colander.

In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, cover beans with 6 cups water, a sage and bay leaf, 2 cloves garlic. Heat on medium-high until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 1-2 hours, or until beans are tender. Drain beans in colander; set aside. Heat olive oil, remaining garlic, onions, pepper and herbs. Saute until translucent. Remove sausage meat from casings. Brown sausage, breaking up into small pieces using two forks.

When sausage has browned, add beans and tomatoes, and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper and pepper flakes to taste. Simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until ready to serve.

Variation: Add cooked elbows or ziti just before serving.