1. Sauté first 4 ingredients in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add beans and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir in salt and pepper to taste and, if desired, hot sauce. Top each serving with a spoonful of Gremolata.