There is something about a big pot of stew simmering on the stove. I guess the only way I can describe it, is that I have a very strong feeling of satisfaction…of accomplishment…of confidence…and that all leads to that wonderful feeling of contentment. And that’s why I love to cook. Sometimes it just isn’t about the food….but it’s about getting yourself lost in the preparation…
And that’s why I love my kitchen tools.
And that’s why I can never have too many of them…
I know that I’ve mentioned my tendency to be an impulse buyer… and I’ve gone and done it again. But in my defense, it doesn’t help that I get emails almost on a daily basis from Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, and Sur la Table. Sometimes they have multiple sales going on..
I mean seriously, how many sales can these stores have in one week?
Apparently a lot.
One of the emails that I received a while ago was for a 5-quart cast iron braiser from Sur la Table. It was a crazy good sale, along with free shipping, and for some reason, the green color caught my eye, and that, my friends, was the beginning of the end…
I’ve also mentioned that I get caught up in reviews, and everyone seemed to love this pan, so of course, by the time I was finished reading the reviews, I was pushing the “submit payment” button. And then the major guilt trip set in…
But the guilt was short-lived..because when I got home and found the box waiting for me on the porch..I was like..”Guilt? What guilt??”! I have to say, this is a great pan! I’m in love with that color (don’t ask me why, because there is nothing green about my kitchen, except for the pot of basil sitting on my windowsill)… and I cannot believe how heavy it is! I have a feeling that this pan is going to be one of my favorites..
So, when I get a new pan, I think the hardest thing for me is to decide what will be the first thing I prepare. For some reason, I had white beans in my head for this one. Yep, this recipe started with white beans. Cannellini beans to be exact. Spinach was the obvious next ingredient… with tomatoes and Italian sausage a very close third and fourth. The addition of rigatoni made this a wonderful meal..it was very stew-like, very filling, and really delicious! A little shaved Asiago on top gave it the perfect sharpness to go with the sweetness of the sauce, and the spiciness of the sausage.
I used a can of garlic diced tomatoes; which tend to have a very strong garlic flavor to them. If that is too much for you, then regular diced tomatoes would be just fine…and if you don’t like tomatoes floating around in your stew, you could use one large can of sauce instead of a can of tomatoes and a can of sauce.
Oh, and no…I’m not getting paid to advertise for Sur la Table. I’m just sharing a recipe and a story…
And quick note about the wok. I did get it in the mail a couple of weeks ago..and I love it! I’ll be doing a post about seasoning it. I’m waiting for a nice day to to season it properly..because from what I hear I have to open windows because it smells really bad, and I’d like to be able to open all of the window in the house!
Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew
1 15.5 oz can cannellini beans
1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casings (or bulk)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15.5 oz can diced tomatoes with garlic and basil
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz bag fresh baby spinach, stems removed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound rigatoni
Asiago Cheese, shredded
In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add the Italian sausage and thoroughly cook. Add the diced tomatoes, sauce, and cannellini beans. Simmer for 1/2 hour.
While the stew is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil, add the rigatoni and cook per directions on the box (about 9 minutes, until al dente). Drain (reserve about 1 cup of the water)
After the stew has simmered for 1/2 hour, add the spinach to the pan, and stir until wilted. Add the rigatoni and stir until completely coated. If the sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water.
Serve with Asiago cheese.