Fagioli all'Uccelletto Tuscan Beans

Tuscans have a long reputation around Italy as "the bean eaters," so it's no surprise that one of their classic dishes is a bean stew. Its name beans "bird style" - the same basic preparation they used to make small game birds. This tomato-rich stew is hearty and satisfying.

You can start with dried beans, and soak them in water overnight, then drain, cover with water and boil until tender. (Or you can use canned beans for a quicker preparation.)

Sausage is optional; it adds a nice flavor but can be eliminated for a vegetarian dish. It is traditionally cooked in a terra cotta dish.

FAGIOLI ALL'UCCELLETTO (Beans cooked like game birds)

•2 cups white beans (cannellini)

•1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

•2 sausages, crumbled
•2-3 ripe peeled tomatoes, chopped (or 1 cup canned)
•1 sprig of sage, torn into pieces
•2 cloves of garlic, minced
•Salt, pepper

Once the beans are ready, heat the olive oil in a pan, (preferably terracotta), and saute the garlic and sprig of sage. Add the sausages if you’re using it, and brown them.

After two or three minutes, add peeled tomatoes and cook everything until you get a fairly thick sauce.

Then add the beans, which had previously prepared, add salt and pepper according to your taste, then simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Once the dish is ready serve warm.

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