Cannellini Beans with Pancetta, Fried Sage, and Grilled Sausages
Pancetta (Italian bacon) combines with aromatic fried sage to impart rich flavor to cannellini beans in this dish that's completed with a side of grilled sausages.
- Servings: 6
Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2004
- 2 cups dried cannellini beans (12 ounces)
- 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/3 cup packed sage leaves
- 6 thin slices pancetta or bacon
- 12 sausage links, such as chicken, turkey, or pork, halved lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons truffle oil (optional)
- Freshly ground pepper
Put beans in a large bowl; cover with cold water by 2 inches. Loosely cover; let soak overnight at room temperature.
Drain beans; transfer to a large saucepan. Cover with cold water by 2 inches; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, adding more water if necessary to keep beans covered, until beans are tender (add 1 teaspoon salt after 45 minutes), about 1 hour. Drain beans; set aside.
Heat 1 inch vegetable oil in a 4-quart heavy-bottom saucepan until it registers 365 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in small batches, fry sage leaves, turning them occasionally, until crisp, about 10 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Immediately season with salt. (Adjust heat between batches as necessary to keep oil at a steady temperature.) Coarsely crumble two-thirds of the sage leaves; set aside. Set aside whole leaves.
Cook pancetta in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, turning once, until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain. Reserve fat in skillet with heat off. Coarsely crumble pancetta; set aside.
Preheat grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a grill pan over medium heat until hot.) Grill sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 3 to 6 minutes (cooking time will depend on size of links and whether sausages are precooked). Transfer to a serving platter; cover to keep warm.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to reserved fat in skillet, and heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add reserved beans and the red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until warm, about 2 minutes.
Put beans in a large serving bowl, and add reserved crumbled pancetta and crumbled sage leaves, along with the truffle oil, if desired, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper.
Just before serving, drizzle beans with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and garnish with reserved whole sage leaves. Serve with sausages.