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Sausage and White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

Mariel here. One of my all-time favorite winter dishes is my step-dad’s “Cost-Conscious Cassoulet.” Instead of pricey lamb and duck, he uses bone-in chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks, thick-cut bacon and sweet sausage. After a 3½-hour stint in the oven – during which your house starts to smell like a bonafide Parisian bistro – you’ve got a meal that lasts all week and gets better everyday. Although this delectable recipe is relatively budget-friendly compared to a traditional French cassoulet, it requires a lot of hand’s-on time – I’d estimate upwards of an hour. It’s worth every second of effort, but sometimes it’s nice to dig into something that doesn’t necessitate an afternoon of attention.

Enter Sausage & White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes.

Inspired by Michael’s sumptuous creation, this snappy little entree is a blissfully simple second cousin. Once your tomatoes are roasted (which can be done the day before, just store them in the fridge in an airtight container), this meal takes about 15 minutes from prep to plate. While I won’t try and pretend it’s as incredibly rich as my step-dad’s cassoulet, it’s a delicious doppelganger that satisfies those same cravings thanks to the savory-sweetness afforded by coaxing out the natural sugars in winter’s scrappy, sallow tomatoes. Plus, it’s still January, so I’d like to think that the New Year’s bean superstition still holds true.

Sausage and White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
12-oz of sweet Italian-style chicken sausages (about 4 links), sliced into 1/3-inch rounds – $4.19
2 15-oz cans of cannellini beans (or any mild, white bean), drained and rinsed – $1.98
6 vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered – $5.00
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or about ½ a teaspoon of dried thyme) – stock
4 cloves of garlic, minced – stock
4 Tablespoons of olive oil, divided – stock
A splash of white wine (white cooking wine or whatever’s in the fridge) – stock
¼ teaspoon of salt + some for seasoning at the end – stock
Black pepper to taste – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $11.17
Cost per serving: $2.79

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Toss together the tomatoes, ¼ teaspoon of salt, thyme, black pepper, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and garlic. Roast the tomatoes skin-side down in a casserole dish large enough to accommodate everything for 50 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the sliced sausage on all sides (this takes about 5-8 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cannellini beans, roasted tomatoes, a splash of white wine and salt and pepper (to taste). Saute for an additional 2 minutes (until the wine has cooked off) then serve hot.