Sweet Italian Sausages with Braised White Beans and Kale

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Last month, Joe and I spent a week in Puglia, Italy, the region on the heel of Italy’s “boot.” We ate countless bowls of seafood pasta, almost a whole wheel of the local, firm ricotta, and tried so many varieties of pasticiotto, Puglia’s famous cream-filled cakes, that I went through serious withdrawal when we got home. But for me, one of the most memorable things we ate on the trip was actually in Rome, where we spent a weekend before flying home.

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At Armando Al Pantheon, a restaurant a stone’s throw from the Pantheon that serves traditional Roman cuisine, we ordered the special of the day: braised white beans with sausages. (Along with lots of other things, as it was our last weekend in Italy). Even after all the burrata and cacio e pepe we ate, there was something about this dish in particular I found so satisfying and comforting.

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It was incredibly simple- white beans braised with tomatoes and herbs and served with roasted sausages- but it had so much flavor. It was the kind of thing I could see myself eating fall and winter long, with a big glass of wine and some crusty bread to mop it all up. I couldn’t wait to play around with this idea at home to see if I could come up with my own version.

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One thing I knew from the start is that I wanted to try using canned beans. Cooking the beans from scratch would be more authentic, but there’s no way I am ever going to remember to soak beans overnight. It’s just not happening. I also wanted the dish to be quick, easy, and able to be made last-minute on a weeknight.

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This recipe calls for browning the sausages in a Dutch oven, and then finishing them in the oven. I use the some of fat from the sausage to cook the onions and garlic, which I braise along with the beans, Tuscan kale (my own sneaky addition of something fresh and green), tomatoes, chicken stock, white wine and a big sprig of rosemary. If you want to go lighter, you can make this with chicken or turkey sausage. Just be sure if you’re using chicken sausage that you find a butcher that sells them uncooked. You don’t want the precooked, flavored chicken sausages for this recipe.

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This is the dinner to make when you feel like winding down and stirring something simple and comforting after a long day. The recipe calls for a half cup of white wine, so you might as well just finish the bottle, right?

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Print Recipe
4.04 from 25 votes

Sweet Italian Sausages with White Beans and Kale

Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, cut in half through the stem and thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chopped kale leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
  • Freshly ground Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Rustic country bread, for serving

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Using, tongs, transfer the sausages to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onions to the pot and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and translucent. (Add a splash of oil at any point if the pan looks dry.) Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring, until fragrant.
  • Add the wine and simmer until it's reduced by about half. Add the beans, kale, tomatoes, chicken broth, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Return the sausages to the pot, lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the broth has reduced considerably.
  • Discard the rosemary sprig. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press of some of the beans against the side of the pot to lightly mash them. Continue until the sauce is very thick. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • To serve, spoon some of the beans into the bottom of a shallow bowl or deep plate. Top with a sausage and sprinkle with parsley and lots of Parmesan cheese. Serve with bread on the side.
    Copyright 2017, Lidey Heuck, All Rights Reserved
    updated 2024.
42 Comments
  1. 5 stars
    I rarely comment but I just have to say that I made this tonight and it was one of the best things I’ve ever made. It tasted just as good as it looks. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight band everyone loved it! No leftovers, unfortunately! Next time, I’m doubling the recipe.

  3. I made this for my son who is a construction worker and he devoured it. Had some of the bean mixture left over so I will boil up some ditalini and add to it toss on some Parmesan cheese some great Italian bread and a salad! Voila a $25 bowl of luscious Italian cuisine actually peasant food prepared in my kitchen -LaBella Donna La Cucina!

  4. Just made this and it’s delicious! Easy to make and it really warms you up on a cold day. Will definitely make again!

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you for a delicious recipe! It was so good that I couldn’t stop tasting spoonfuls of it while it was still cooking; I practically filled myself before it was done! I imagine this will taste even better tomorrow. Thanks for superbly recreating this dish, and bringing us all a taste of Italy!

  6. 5 stars
    There’s nothing quite a comforting as a hearty bean stew, and this one is particularly delicious! I’ve made this one four or five times and its a real crowd pleaser on a cozy night with a big glass of red wine. YUM!

  7. This is still one of my go-to fav recipes!!!!! And it reheats so great!! It’s become our comfort meal!! Only things I do a little different are that I double the sausage and double crushed tomatoes. Also, I chop up the rosemary and add.

  8. Just found this recipe and prepared it last night—delicious! My husband said, “Double excellent—this is a keeper!” Planning to serve it at my next dinner party with neighbors. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Kathie! I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe! It’s one of my favorites for cold winter nights!! 🙂

  9. Lidey, wasn’t very clear on my question on the Salmon. Is there anything special when buying salmon? I’m assuming wild is best

  10. Can’t wait to try your salmon recipe. Very iffy salmon fan, but your recipes are no fail, so I’m game. What should I request from the fishmonger. The sausage and beans are going to be a cold weather must. Thanks , F

    1. Hi Flora! Thanks for following! Wild or organic salmon is preferable, but wild-caught salmon can be very expensive. Organic, farm-raised salmon is delicious and typically what I buy, but ask your seafood store or counter what’s best that day!!

  11. Excellent recipe! I made this for the chilly first night of 2018! I added two diced carrots with the onion along with a bit of chopped fresh thyme. Happy New Year!

  12. Love this recipe and so do all to whom I’ve served it! It’s become a staple for cold winter nights, it’s one pot, relatively easy, cozy, and delicious!

    1. Hi Justine!! Thank you so much!! I’m so glad to hear you love the recipe- it’s become a winter staple for me, too! In fact, I might just make it this weekend. Thanks for following 🙂

  13. Made this for my husband and I the other night. We loved it. Perfect hearty meal for fall and winter. I’d agree with that it tastes like it took hours, but really comes together quite quickly.

  14. Warm, hearty and delicious! I made this last night and it was so quick and so easy – the kind of flavor which tastes like you cooked for a long time. As a new mom this kind of recipe is very appreciated! Only little tweaks I made were that I finished cooking the sausages in the sauce (purely because So-Cal heat wave has discouraged me from using my oven) and I added some fresh thyme sprigs along with the rosemary. Would love more recipes like this!

  15. Oh my goodness, this looks fabulous! I am definitely making this for my book club next week. They will love it! Thank you,, Lidey, for another wonderful recipe ? Reading your blog post makes me really want to go to Italy.
    – Kris

      1. I definitely will. I’m making it tonight for book club. I bought all the ingredients yesterday. I chose sweet Italian chicken sausages because I love the ones my butcher has. I can’t wait to try this dish! It looks so good. I thought I’d mention it on my blog (www.sunshineandsavory.com). Tomorrow. You have such fabulous recipes. I made your sweet corn pesto for. Y dinner club last month along with Ina’s slow roasted spice rubbed pork. It was a hit and everyone said it was their favorite dinner I’ve ever made for dinner club! ?

      2. Hi Lidey! I made your fabulous dish for my Thursday night book club. It was such a big hit, the ladies loved it! I’m trying to figure out how to post a picture here in the comment, but can’t seem to get it to work. I loved this dish and will always have beans and chicken sausages on hand to make this dish throughout the fall and winter months. It was wonderful! I’d love to make this for my other book club as well. There are several vegetarians in that group, so am trying to decide if I could make it with the beans only, and kale. :). Thank you, again, for a fabulous recipe!

        1. Hi Kristin! I’m so glad you liked it!! Thanks for letting me know!! I was thinking this recipe would be really comforting on cold fall and winter nights- glad you agree!! 🙂

          1. It was perfect! I heard from one of my book club friends last night. She loved the dish so much she made it for her husband last night. I just got back from the market to get the ingredients to make it again this week. This recipe is a definite winner!

  16. sweet Italian sausage and pork sausage are the same, is this a printing error? I guess you can use spinach or even escarole I’m not crazy about kale either

    1. Hi Pam, I’m not sure that broccolini would work particularly well but I also tried this recipe with spinach and think that would be a great option instead of kale. I would use baby spinach and add it towards the end of the simmering time. Hope that helps!

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