Last week, someone tweeted me a link to Pam Anderson’s Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans from her new book Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers over at The Merry Gourmet. It was brilliant, really – and today, as it hovered around ten degrees with grey skies and a constant threat of drizzle, it seemed like the most perfect fall (sorry, it’s true) meal in a dish. It took approximately sixty seconds to assemble, and warmed the house as it roasted over about an hour. I love that – the smell of dinner cooking between school and dinnertime – especially when it’s something that goes really well with a glass of red. And extra-especially when it’s something good for us and exceptionally tasty – the juices all getting together to create a sticky mess of beans and soft tomatoes. This will become a staple around here this fall and winter.
A classic cassoulet is a big production in France, and isn’t typically the sort of thing you’d make for dinner on an average worknight. But this changes everything. All you do is tip a pint or two of cherry tomatoes into a roasting or casserole dish, toss in a few smashed, peeled cloves of garlic, lay as many sausages as you have people to feed (or a few more) over them, tuck in a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary, and drizzle some balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the lot. (The original calls for chopped onion too – go for it if you want.)
Pop it into a 425°F oven for a half hour to an hour – once the tomatoes start to split and release their juices and the sausages turn golden take it out and stir in a rinsed, drained can of white kidney beans (or 2 cups of beans you’ve simmered yourself).
My sister came in the door and proclaimed DOES IT EVER SMELL GOOD IN HERE! And it really did. And it tasted good. And it was fast (and yet slow – the best of both worlds, really), cheap, well-received by the masses. Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.
1-2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
4-6 fresh sweet or hot Italian sausages
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
1 19 oz (540 mL) can white kidney, navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425°F.
Scatter the tomatoes over the bottom of a baking dish. Add the garlic, lay the sausages overtop, and drizzle it all with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss in a few sprigs of thyme and/or rosemary, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When the tomatoes have split and the sausages are golden, remove the dish from the oven and stir in the beans. Return to the oven for 20 minutes or so, until the beans are cooked through and the sausages are even more golden. Serve hot, with crusty bread and butter.