I love rice and beans even when the dish is not Italian, but for me, the tastiest expression of that combination is beans in risotto. What makes this particular risotto with beans even better than most is, first, that the beans are sautéed with pork sausage, itself another winning combination; and, second, that they are partly mashed to contribute to the quality that characterizes all successful risottos, creaminess.
You can substitute cannellini for cranberry beans if you must, but try hard for the latter because they are tastier. The pork sausage should be as plain as possible, without tomato, fennel seeds, sage, chili pepper, or other exotic flavorings. If you cannot find good, plain sausage, use fresh ground pork, not too lean, seasoning it liberally with salt and pepper.
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