Saturday, March 04, 2006

German Pork & Italian Beans

Margy sent me to the pork store for sausage. Italian sausage, so she can make quiche. But what am I going to do, buy just two links? Not at my favorite butcher. I kept it under control and merely added a bunch of bratwurst for this Germany-meets-Italy dish.

The menu: cannellini beans with tomato and sage, with grilled bratwurst and sautéed spinach. The accompaniment is grilled baguette.

I was trying to recreate a similar Tuscan dish, fagioli all'uccelletto. But I can't find a good unseasoned Italian sausage, so I used a mild bratwurst. I might not serve it to my friends from Florence if they dropped by the house, but then again I just might. I browned the brats up on the grill, turning them with tongs until they had a gorgeous crust all over. I brushed butter and olive oil on sliced bread and threw that on the grill too. It was fantastic -- crisp, chewy, and a little charred.

The stew was easy. I've been starting everything with a bit of onion lately, and this was no exception (there's no onion in the traditional version, but since I'd already made a sausage substitution...). I softened chopped onion in olive oil, added sliced garlic, two cans of cannellini, chopped canned plum tomatoes, and a crumble of sage leaves. When I took the beans off the heat, I stirred in just a dash of balsamic vinegar to add a hint of sweetness.

For Margy, great lover of wurst but also one of the biggest fans I know of Italian food, this was the best of both worlds.

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