Despite the many great dishes on offer in the UK, since moving abroad it’s always the simple mid-week meals from my childhood that bring back my memories of great British food. Being from Lincolnshire, sausages were an important part of growing up for me and despite all the delicious Italian food, every now and again I find myself craving a taste of home. With the cold nights beginning to draw in even in sunny Tuscany I decided to put an Italian spin on one of my childhood favourites, sausage and beans, taking inspiration from the classic Florentine recipe, fagioli all’uccelletto.
Made with toscanelli beans (similar to cannellini), and flavoured with tomato, garlic and sage, fagioli all’uccelleto has got to be one of the best recipes I've discovered since moving to Tuscany. Like the sophisticated European sister of the humble baked bean, when cooked properly, you’ll never want to eat Heinz again!
Fagioli all’uccelletto (Tuscan baked beans)
- 400g tin of cannellini beans
- 200g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 branch of sage
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
Start by gently heating the olive oil in a medium sized pan. Peel the garlic cloves and lightly crush them with the heel of your hand or size of your knife. Once the oil is hot add the crushed garlic and fresh sage. Leave to gently fry for about 5 minutes so that the oil becomes infused and the garlic turns lightly golden in colour.
Add the tomatoes and cook through for another few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly. Remove the garlic cloves and sage and add the beans.
Season well and cook for about another 5 minutes until the beans have absorbed some of the flavour of the sauce. We served ours with a spicy variety of Italian sausage and lots of crusty bread. Buon appetito!