It’s 70-something degrees outside on the last day of Summer.

Time to make some beans.

I was up in the cupboards last night rearranging and getting them a bit organized. I need to take inventory now and again to make sure those things that get pushed into the corners actually see the light of day and get used. I keep rice and beans in jars for the most part, but had a 1-pound bag of white beans that were just sitting there without a jar or a place to call home.

Into a bowl they went with lots of water to soak overnight.

I grew up in the Thou Shalt Not Salt Beans world. Seems things have changed. Now, not only can you salt the cooking water,  the big thing is brining beans – adding salt to the soaking liquid.

I’ll pass. And salt my beans when they’re tender. I get enough salt in my diet without soaking my beans in even more of the stuff. Besides, I still have that magnesium-calcium-sodium-cell-wall-molecular-structure-stuff playing in the YouTube of my mind. Old dog, new tricks. As I said… I’ll pass.

***ten years later, I have changed my mind. I brine. Old dog learned new trick.

So… here I was with a pound of soaked white beans and only a vague idea of what I wanted to do. I had seen a recipe at La Cucina Italiana for beans with oven-roasted tomatoes. And I had seen another, recently, with beans and sausage. We had all of the above – fresh tomatoes right out of the garden, sausage in the freezer…

Time to improvise.

White Beans with Sausage and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

  • 1 lb white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups – more or less – water
  • 1 tsp French herbs
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add sausage and lightly brown.

Add drained beans and 2 cups of chicken broth. Add additional water to cover the beans by about an inch.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender – 45 minutes or so.

Stir in seasoning and add salt and pepper, as desired.

While beans are cooking, roast tomatoes.

  • plum tomatoes
  • beefsteak tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.

Slice plum tomatoes in half lengthwise. Cut beefsteak tomatoes in large chunks. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place tomatoes cut-side up on paper. Sprinkle with S&P.

Roast in oven about 30 minutes.

To assemble:

Place beans and sausage in bowl. Top with chunks of roasted tomatoes. Add shaved parmesan, if desired.

It was a bit of a different take on an old standard and even Nonna finished her bowl! I can see something like this happening again, although I should probably roast the tomatoes now and freeze them rather than try and use the garbage tomatoes of winter. I rarely buy tomatoes after summer…

It can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken broth and switching out the sausage for a meatless substitute.

Now all I need is for the weather to turn fall-like…