If you choose to serve
your fagioli all’uccelletto with sausages, you’ll want freshly made mild Italian sausages, or perhaps a mixture of mild and other kinds (for example garlic or pepper-laced), so long as the spiced sausages aren’t too strong, otherwise they’ll overpower the beans. Depending upon the size of the sausages and the appetites of your diners, figure two or more sausages per guest. For this dish,
I always use my favorite sausage, luganega.
In any case, begin by boiling
the beans until 3/4 done in lightly salted
water. This will take about an hour, though you should begin checking them after 30 minutes. You don’t want them to go mushy on you. If you are including sausages, prick
lightly with a fork and simmer
them separately in boiling
water to cover for 15 minutes to render
out some of the fat.
Once the beans are almost done, set the olive oil to heat
over medium heat,
in a heavy bottomed clay pot or Dutch oven. When the oil has become hot but not smoking,
add the garlic and the sage (not more than seven or eight leaves; too much sage will make the beans bitter). Cook until the sage crackles and the garlic is lightly browned.
Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, then add the beans and some of their bean broth to cover. Season
and pepper, add the sausages, and simmer
everything until the beans are quite soft, stirring
occasionally and adding bean broth as necessary to keep it all from drying
Which wine? I would go with a simple Chianti Classico.