Hi there! Guess what?! I finally have a recipe index on the site. I think it’s very exciting, don’t you? After months of trying to figure out what to do and how to switch all of my posts over to this new widget, it’s finally done. Now you can search all of my recipes on the recipe page. No more scrolling back through three years of recipes to find that salad I made that one time. Search by ingredients, courses or tags. I vowed not to add another recipe until I had all of my recipe posts completely converted so now here we are.
I’ve had this little gem from Lidia ready for you for a while, but it seems like a pretty appropriate time to finally post it, because this is a comforting meal when it’s cold out and you’re stuck in an #icemaggeddon like we were this weekend. It’s very easy to make, but don’t be fooled by it’s simplicity. Amazing flavor comes from just a few ingredients. And you might even say – well can I make it even simpler by just using a jar of marinara and call it a day? No, you cannot. This sauce has secrets. Secrets of centuries of Italian grandmothers. And they must be revealed to you.
(But you can use canned beans. I did.)
You will need a VERY large skillet. (6-quart capacity, about 12 inches wide.) This is a one-pan plan, but it’s a BIG pan. You could us a dutch oven if that is all you have, just be diligent about getting the sausages nice and browned.
Related recipes: How about Chocolate Mousse for dessert?
Beans and Sausages with Polenta
Adapted slightly from Lidia’s Italy
6 sweet Italian sausages
1 small onion, chopped
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cups hot water
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 can cannellini beans
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
cracked black pepper
For the polenta: prepare as directed on package, freshly cooked, soft and creamy. Or follow Lidia’s recipe here.
Place the skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and sauté bacon until it begins to render fat. Drop in the sausages and let them begin to brown. Add the onion and bay leaves, keep turning sausages so they brown on all sides.
Once meat and onions have caramelized, clear a space on the pan bottom and drop in the tomato paste. Stir it in the clear spot until it begins to sizzle, then spread it all around the pan and be sure to coat the sausages. Make another clear space, then add the red wine vinegar, allow to sizzle and evaporate for a few seconds, then stir everything together once again.
Pour 1 cup of the hot water into the pan, raise the heat and deglaze the pan as the water begins to bubble. Scrape up any remaining bits of fond from the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes. Rinse the can with the remaining cup of hot water and pour into pan. (You don’t want to miss all of that good, expensive tomato residue that you just paid good money for.) Stir in a 1/4 tsp of salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer at a gentle bubble for about 10 minutes, then add the beans. Return to a gentle boil and simmer for about 10 more minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. It should be a loose sauce that covers the beans and sausages. Season with additional salt if needed and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve over freshly made polenta.