Alvaro’s Sausages with Bean

Salsicce e Fagioli di Alvaro

This is the recipe for the traditional Tuscan dish of sausages with beans that Alvaro Maccioni gave me. You really do need Italian sausages to make this dish. They are much coarser in texture than a British sausage, with small cubes of fat blended into the mixture. They are also quite strong in flavour and usually have a fair amount of pepper as seasoning. These sausages are available through good Italian delicatessens, though I know some people have used fresh Greek sausages with some success. The only possible alternative is to use very strong-tasting game sausages; this will give you the powerful flavour if not the texture.

Ingredients

  • 4 teacups dried white cannellini beans, soaked for 48 hours in cold water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 8 Italian sausages (preferably all pork)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée

Method

Drain the beans and boil them in 4 pints (2.25 litres) fresh water for about 1½–2 hours or until soft, then add the salt and 4 of the the garlic cloves. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Then add the sausages and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large frying-pan, crush the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and fry them in the oil for about 5 minutes. Remove the sausages from the beans and add them to the frying-pan. Turn them in the pan until brown, then add the beans, the sage and the tomato purée.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then serve.

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