Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Cannellini Bean Obsession

It's been miserable, cold and rainy all day. I spent a couple of hours at the Big House tweaking some of the Christmas decorations. Don't you just hate when one section of lights on a big piece goes out??? Anyway, those things are done, the ribbons have been fluffed, and tomorrow it will be outside.

My gardener side gets crazy on days like this, since I can't go outside; my chef side, however, loves cold rainy days. Lately my rainy day activity of choice has been catching up on recorded episodes of "Barefoot Contessa," since I really like Ina Garten's approach to cooking...great quality foods prepared simply.

I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home from work, and decided it was a cannelini bean kind of day. I got started on the White Bean and Fennel Soup (that recipe was posted in February) too late for it to be dinner tonight, so the giant pot of soup that's simmering on the stove now will go into the freezer for lunches.

While I was already in the kitchen, I decided to try another white bean recipe, which became dinner. It was very easy to put together, and really good! It's much less "gourmet" than it sounds, and the fried sage leaves really make a difference, so don't skip that step!

1/4 c. olive oil
3 c. fresh bread crumbs
20 fresh sage leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 T. chopped garlic
1 lb. chicken sausage, removed from its casings
1/2 c. dry white wine
3 cans (19 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

If you can't find fresh breadcrumbs (look in the bakery section at the supermarket), just grind up a baguette in the food processor. Fresh makes a difference here! Mix 3 c. breadcrumbs with 2 T. olive oil and set aside. I guess you could always use panko for this, too, but no canned breadcrumbs this time!

Heat the remaining oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the sage leaves (they have to be dry), and fry for about 2 minutes, until they start to crisp like bacon. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

In the same pan (with the oil), saute the onion and garlic until translucent, then add in the sausage. Stir to break up the sausage a little, then add the wine and the beans, and cook about five minutes until the sausage is cooked.

Pour this mixture into a shallow casserole dish, top with the breadcrumb mixture, and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. When it comes out, top it with the fried sage leaves.

This with a green salad was an amazing rainy night dinner!


  1. Half the lights of our {very expensive!} faux Christmas tree are out....making us kinda put off putting it up. sigh. But the recipe sounds wonderful, maybe I'll make that as a bribe for my better half to start on the tree.:)

  2. That's why you need to get those $10 bargain white trees at Wallyworld! (Something tells me it doesn't compare to yours......)

  3. Firstly, I'm looking for marrowfat peas so I can make my own mushy peas (a weird English thing that I LOVE!). Secondly, I use the old c4 light strings (literally old strings, I hit the jackpot at an estate sale) and if you have a strand of 24 lights, you can have 23 bulbs missing and the one will light! I got the box of four of these light strings, plus extra bulbs, for $2!!! I have a really long strand staked/stung along my driveway. :)

  4. I'm just like you, I love to cook on rainy days. Ina is my favorite too. You are lucky to have a Whole Foods Grocery store. I am envious!