Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Italian Sausage and Bean Casserole

I'm sharing a few of my recipes today that I put into my somewhat frugal basket (given that we've been a few days out from shopping we've been making do with what veges and other ingredients we have left).  They are simple and only require small amounts of meat and generally whatever leftover veges you have can be used up, with an addition of a can of beans/lentils you have a nourishing meal that doesn't cost the earth to prepare.  This recipe I have adapted slightly, it's from our Simple Mediterranean cookbook that my DH has had for some years. It's easy, yummy and filling :)

For this recipe I use a mini bratwurst sausage for the flavour it gives. The recipe calls for an Italian sausage to be used, so anything with a little flavour will work. I have in the past used a tomato and basil gluten free sausage (they were on special) that worked just as well.  This time I had 5 thin sausages for this recipe which cost $4 for the packet so it's a cheaper meat meal. It will feed us for dinner and a good amount leftover for lunch the next day for DH to take for work

Italian Sausage and Bean Casserole
Italian Sausages (up to 6 sausages but just use what you have, I normally use 4 or 5)
Olive Oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic 
1 green pepper/capsicum (I use whatever I have on hand, peppers are expensive out of season so sometimes I only use 1/4 of a pepper to make it stretch further, if they are in season I would use a whole one)
1 400gm can of Chopped Tomatoes or 4 large fresh tomatoes chopped well
2 tbsp of Tomato Paste
400gm can of Cannellini Beans

Precook your sausages, either in the microwave, under the grill or on bake in the oven.  Don't forget to pierce them first so they don't explode.
Add a good slosh of Olive Oil to a large pan, and gently fry off the onion, garlic and green pepper.  Cook for around 5 mins stirring every now and then until they have softened but not browned.
Add the tomatoes and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5mins or so stirring a few times.
Stir through the tomato paste, the cannellinni beans and the sausages (which need to be sliced up into pieces)
and simmer for another 5mins or so.  If you need more moisture add a little water with a touch more tomato paste mixed in.  Season to taste with pepper and salt. 
I generally serve this with mashed spuds or a garlic and butter couscous, with steamed veges on the side

Cook's Note :) : If I don't have any green pepper I don't stress about it, and I'll just make it without it.  Or I'll use a red or yellow pepper, whatever I have on hand. Sometimes I'll add a courgette with the onions, or some silver beet towards the end.  


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