Let’s face facts;  it’s getting cooler and while I love summer, the return of early Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year.  The crisp air loses it’s humidity, football returns, meals become heartier and the grape harvests get underway. In short, it’s red wine season.  And while the garden grinds to a halt,  the remaining bounty are fresh herbs.
 
One of the first herbs I planted in my garden was Sage.  I use it in many recipes, but it takes a starring role in today’s feature; a role  I would not have necessarily considered it for.  Loosely copied from Guiliano Hazan’s Cookbook, “Everyday Italian” and inspired by friend Rolando,  I set about creating “Salsicce e Fagioli con Salvia” –  Sausage & Beans with Sage. 
Braised Sausage with White Beans & Sage
 
6 large links Italian Sausage
1 Can (28 oz)  Crushed San Marzano tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, 2 smashed, 2 sliced thin
1 large handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 cans white cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
 
In a pan large enough to hold the sausages in one layer,  drizzle 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Add the smashed cloves and “poach” over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown – about 3-4 minutes.  Remove and discard the smashed cloves.  Then add the sliced garlic and chopped sage leaves and saute for 2-3 minutes longer. 

~ This is the sliced garlic and sage flavoring the oil:  This method creates an intensely flavorful base for the dish ~

Add the beans and stir to coat. Saute for a minute while gently stirring the beans.  Then add the crushed tomatoes and the raw sausages.  Cover the pan with a lid, slightly ajar and reduce the heat to medium low.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sauce thickens.  If it becomes too “tight” you can thin it with a little water before serving.

~ Here’s the dish immediately after adding the sausages.  You can note how “brothy” the tomatoes look.  They will thicken considerably ~

Once the sauce thickens, the sausages will be cooked through.  Add a pinch of crushed red pepper if you like some heat and check seasoning before you serve.  Definitely have a nice crusty loaf of Ciabatta to soak up the sauce.  We paired the dish with two wines:  The Terrabianca Tesoro and the Villa Cerna Chianti Classico Riserva.  Both were excellent with the rustic, simple nature of this dish.  This is a simple, flavorful recipe that, start to finish, can be on the table in under 30 minutes.  Try it!  
 
~ The Chef’s Plate:  Garnish with additional Sage leaves ~
 

Tutti a tavola!

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