Italian Sausage with Stewed White Beans

Italian Sausage with Stewed White Beans
Staff Writer
Italian Sausage with Stewed White Beans

Both sausage (in the freezer) and beans (in the pantry) are great bomb shelter foods. Keep them on hand at all times for emergencies, such as daily hunger. If you have access to a butcher, that's the best place to find good sausage; and if you must use chicken, use chicken. Just make sure it's Italian-style. Theoretically the beans serve enough for two; what's left will be delicious the next day (or the day after that), at room temperature. If you cooked an extra sausage, slice it and stir it in with the leftover beans before refrigerating. 

Carolynn Carreño is the writer of the weekly column Cooking for One (Two if You're Lucky).


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • A sprig (or 2) of rosemary (if you have it; don't go out and buy rosemary for this, but do consider buying a plant; it's nearly impossible to kill) 
  • Kosher salt
  • A handful of small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes*
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • One 15-ounce can Italian white beans (Cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 (or 2) Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon best-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)** 


Combine the olive oil, onion, and rosemary in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sprinkle the onion with salt and sauté stirring often, until it is tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Halfway through that time, add the tomatoes. Cook until the onions are tender and translucent and the tomatoes are beginning to collapse and burst, adding a splash of water from time to time if necessary to prevent the onion from browning. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring to prevent it from browning. Gently stir in the beans and ¼ cup of water, and cook the beans for about 5 minutes until they are warmed through and what liquid is left is thick and soupy. Stir in the good olive oil, if using. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if you want. 

While the onion is cooking, prick the sausage(s) in several places with the tines of a fork and put it in a small skillet. Add ½ cup of water and cook the sausages over medium heat, turning them occasionally. When the water had evaporated, continue to cook the sausages until they are brown all over and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. 

To serve, spoon the beans into 1 (or 2) soup plates or bowls. Cut the sausage(s) in half and place the 2 halves on top of the beans. Don't eat the rosemary sprig.


Italian Sausage Shopping Tip

Try to use fresh sausage whenever you can; they are full of flavor and don't have the high level of preservatives and nitrates that packaged sausage has.

Italian Sausage Cooking Tip

Fresh sausage should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Italian Sausage Wine Pairing

Pinot noir, gamay, merlot, zinfandel, carménère, pinotage, or grenache with grilled, roasted, or other simply cooked chicken; chardonnay, pinot gris/grigio, pinot blanc, or chenin blanc with chicken in cream or light tomato sauce or with chicken crêpes or croquettes; sauvignon blanc or sémillon with fried chicken; viognier with spiced chicken dishes.