There's something about cannellini beans that make my mouth water. It's the texture maybe, or the mild, yet satisfying flavor. I love their versatility and the way that any dish containing them takes on a hearty, rustic tone. They're substantial, yet their creamy color presents a sort of elegance to a meal.
This is an incredibly simple and flavorful dish using chard that is so abundant at the market right now, spicy Italian sausage, and plenty of fresh herbs in a light vegetable broth. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a good olive oil for dipping.
Buon appetito! (a little Italian for ya :)
White Beans with Italian Sausage and Chardserves 3-4
1 T. olive oil
1 medium leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
1/2 lb. (approx.) spicy Italian sausage (I recommend hitting up your local farmers for the best quality meat)
2 C. cannellini beans, cooked
1 bunch chard, roughly chopped
2 T. chopped, fresh basil
2 T. chopped, fresh oregano
1 1/4 C. vegetable broth
salt to taste*
If you're using uncooked sausage, poach them in simmering water until about 3/4 cooked, about 8 minutes. Remove them from the water and slice 3/4 - 1 inch thick.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium and add the leeks. Saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the sausage slices, 1 C. broth and a dash of cayenne. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Add the fresh herbs and the chard, cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is wilted. Season with salt and more cayenne if desired. Serve hot.
*If the broth you use contains salt, you may not need any extra. Be careful with the shaker so you don't end up with an over-salted dish.