Nutty-tasting cranberry beans pair with spicy Italian sausage in this hearty dish. If you can't find cranberry beans, substitute cannellini or Great Northern beans.
6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; cook 8 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan; set aside. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add leek, fennel, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in cranberry beans, chicken broth, and sausage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until beans are thoroughly heated. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds, if desired.
Wine note: Beans and sausages are classic components of Tuscan cooking, so whenever these ingredients are combined into a stew, reach for Chianti, the well-loved red wine of Tuscany. Chianti has earthy flavors that complement beans well and just enough acidity to balance the richness of the sausage. One of my favorite Chiantis is Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG from the famous Italian family Antinori. The 2003 is $45. --Karen MacNeil