Dinner for Two: Little Italy Sausage’n'Beans

RECIPE: Mulberry Street Cassoulet

My favorite food in the world is cassoulet.  It’s rustic, filling, hearty, and so, so good.  But it doesn’t only have to be French.  While the traditional version takes a million minutes and a few different kinds of confit to make, this Mulberry Street version only takes one pot and fifteen minutes, and is a kind of fresh riff on the Italian favorite sausage and broccoli rabe.

Start with some really, really good pork sausage flavored with garlic and herbs.  Sweet Italian sausage works perfectly.  Nestle it into a pot with canned cannellini beans, whole cloves of garlic, fresh rosemary, broccolini, and olive oil.  Add just a little bit of broth or water or wine, bring it to the boil, and then nestle the whole thing under the broiler.  The sausages with blister and crack, the beans will toast, the garlic will go all soft and sweet, and the broccolini with become tender-crisp.  You have your meat, starch, and veg all in one place, and the perfect rustic, romantic meal to throw on top of a red and white checked table cloth decorated with scattered melting candles stuck in wine bottles.  Unfortunately, I can’t help with the accordion player, but otherwise, you’ve pretty much set the scene!  The perfect downtown dinner for two.

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Mulberry Street Cassoulet
serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • About 1 pound of sweet pork sausage links
  • 1 bunch broccolini, stems chopped into small circles, florets left whole
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and left in their wrappers
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 14-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of water, vegetable stock, chicken stock, or white wine
  • Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

PROCEDURE

Arrange the oven rack in the center position.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  In a high-sided sautépan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat.  Add the sausages, and just brown lightly on the bottom.  Take the pan off the heat, and add the broccolini, garlic, and rosemary, and toss to coat in the oil.  Add the beans, and whatever liquid you choose, and season the whole mix with chili flakes, if using, and salt and pepper.  Nestle everything down into the liquid, and make sure the sausages are poking out on top.  The liquid will only come about halfway up the side of sausages.  Drizzle the top of the pot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Put the pot back on the heat, covered, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat all the way down, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.  Then, remove the lid, and place the whole pot in the oven for 15 minutes.  You may want to turn on the broiler at the end for another 2 minutes to make sure the sausage is super crispy.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Series

5 Responses to Dinner for Two: Little Italy Sausage’n'Beans

  1. Louisa says:

    This sounds absolutely delicious! Having never made cassoulet before, it’s on my to make list. Yours sounds like a good way to ease myself in gently.

  2. Jack says:

    What is to be gained from using a whole head of garlic still in their skins? Won’t the skins start to come off in the hot liquid and make it difficult to pick them out? Why not just add a smaller amount of minced garlic?

    • Kerry says:

      Hi Jack. I’m so glad you asked! Actually, it’s quite a different thing. The whole garlic cloves in their skin poach in their skins and become soft and sweet, so soft and sweet you can eat them whole. So it adds on a little garlic flavor to the dish as a whole (unlike chopped garlic, which adds a lot of garlic flavor). Instead of using garlic as a flavoring agent, you are using it here almost like another vegetable to be eaten. There’s nothing like taking the garlic cooked in it’s skin, squeezing it out of its skin, and smearing it on some bread. Amazing!

  3. Joseph Rohowetz says:

    Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like structure on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species..

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