Thursday, July 29, 2010

Navy Beans with Bulgar & Sausage - serves 4 with leftovers

I already miss Italy.  As mentioned in previous blogs, the Italian way of cooking is so simple.  Very little ingredients to come up with something so wonderful.  I had been craving beans, and in Italy they use a lot of them, particularly cannelli or navy beans.  Our last evening in Italy was spent at a famous restaurant called Il Latino in Florence.  They have two seatings for dinner, lasting roughly 2 hours long.  We were having so much fun, we stayed almost 4.  Of all the courses we had, this particular dish stood out the most.  I think I've nailed it pretty close... for you vegetarians out there, just omit the sausage.  The starch of the bulgar thickens the sauce and with the combination of herbs, makes this a smooth, stewlike meal that will make you smile.  Just ask my mom.


1 pd bag of Navy beans, soaked overnight
1 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
3/4 cup bulgar
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
5 mild Italian sausage links
1/2 tbs chopped sage
1/2 tbs chopped thyme
1/2 tbs chopped rosemary
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
Grated Parmesan (optional)

After beans have been soaked, rinse in colander and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a medium Dutch oven or medium saucepan, add roughly 3 tbs olive oil.  Heat until shimmering.  Add onions and garlic.  Saute until transluscent, about 8 minutes.  Add beans and mix well.  Add tomatoes (in juice), stock, water and bulgar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, checking to make sure that beans are covered in liquid. (Add 1/2 cup water if to low, each time, if necessary.)

Heat oven to 400.  Place sausage on foil lined casserole and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10.  Add to stew and continue cooking.  The last 10 minutes of cooking (check beans for tenderness), add herbs, salt and pepper (to taste).  Stir well and cook for 10 minutes more.

Ladle stew into bowls and top with parmesan cheese and drizzled olive oil.  (Any extra herbs can be topped on as well.)


  1. Is there anything I can substitute for the can of tomatoes?? Too much acid!

  2. Just omit altogether... I would use vegetable broth instead of chicken if you do.