O Sole Mio! Tuscany on a plate. I promise you, I am so excited about this meal and here's why: It is dead simple and it tastes divine and rustically Italian. I found this recipe from Extra Virgin, airing on the Cooking Channel. Set your DVR. You will not want to miss this show. Actress Debi Mazar (the girlfriend in "Goodfellas" and various other roles) and her Tuscan husband Gabriele (pronounced "gab-rie-ell-ay") blend a beautiful cooking show with killer recipes and reality. They essentially follow the couple and document their lives through food and memories and events. It's my new favorite show mostly because there is substance behind the fluff. I want to seriously make everything they do. Everything. Pizza, pasta, sausage, wine, béchamel, olive oil...I am in serious trouble and so is my ass.
I miss pork. It's the number one meat I miss...and eat, on occasion. Ask me if I've cheated with chicken or red meat since going pescotarian almost a year and a half ago and I'll tell you, besides a run-in with a glorious Smashburger, no. Have I really wanted to in two years? Maybe only 4 or 5 times. Pork on the other hand, oh, don't even get me started. I have been known to cheat with bacon, sausage and my main squeeze, prosciutto in small doses. And I knew the second I saw this episode that I would add turkey sausage, a lesser sin, to that list. What? Your saying that since I cheat that I'm not a real pescotarian? Fine. I never liked the label anyway. Besides, I never really was one in the real sense of the word. It just seems like the easiest way to explain why I don't eat meat but still eat seafood.
I made this for a woman who had knee surgery in our church so I didn't inflict my sausage loving heart upon my veggie loving husband. It was perfect. She got a meal and I got to cook and taste this wonderful Tuscan creation. I only had a bite and no, I didn't give the sausage I bit to the woman, just for the record. I'm very clean and proper like that. I'll tell you this, though...I could have wolfed the whole thing down. Pescotarian or not. Those Italian know what's up. They school us all. Make this. No, seriously. And watch Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel and swoon. Bon Apetito! No, seriously...seriously.
This recipe can be cut in half and it would still serve 4.
Tuscan Turkey Sausages with Spicy Beans : Sausages with Fagioli All'uccelletta
adapted from Extra Virgin, Cooking Channel, Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 turkey sausages
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 pound cherry tomato, quartered
3 dry red hot peppers (optional...for those who don't like it hot)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 fresh bay leaves
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Heat a large high-sided saute pan over medium-heat heat. Add the olive oil to heat. Once hot, add the sausages and brown on all sides, for about 8 minutes total. Remove the sausages from the pan to plate and reserve.
Add the garlic, and saute until golden and brown. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chopped tomatoes and red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Lower the flame, and cover the pan with a lid, simmer for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and thickened to a sauce-like consistency.
Add the browned sausages (and any juice left on the plate), beans, and bay leaves to the thickened tomatoes. Stir well and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the chopped parsley before serving.
The sausages will sort of leave a crusty dark brown, almost burned film on the bottom of your pot when you brown them. Don't worry. When you add the cool tomatoes and other ingredients it will lift off easily and become a part of the sauce. Also, if you have a grease splatter cover, use that to cover the pan when sausages are browning. Grease likes to fly with this one. If you don't use a pot with tall sides like the recipe suggests or just cover loosely with foil until you are ready to turn them. Your stove will thank you. The hot peppers are optional, so if you don't care for spicy, you are in luck.