Although I have never been to Italy (boo hoo) I am lucky enough to have a great imagination (yay!).  Picture this…….Tuscan villa, roaring log fire, bottle of chianti,  Tuscan style sausages and beans with crusty ciabatta bread, Marco the hot italian lover in an apron and little else……..OK, enough!!  My imagination started to get the better of me……anyway,  I am sure you get the picture 😉

Prep time:   20 Minutes       Cooking time:    30 Minutes       $  Low Budget

Serves 4

8 good quality Italian Pork sausages

2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil

2 x 400gm cans of butter beans (Liquid reserved)

150 gm speck portion*

4 sprigs of rosemary

4 sprigs of thyme

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large brown onion, finely diced

1/4 cup of dry white wine

3 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan

2 tbs of chopped fresh continental parsley

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Heat a heavy based griddle or fry pan and cook the sausages on all sides until golden brown.  Place in a warm oven while you make the beans.

Heat a large heavy based pan.  Remove the skin off the speck portion and slice into little batons.  Gently dry fry the speck until golden and the fat is rendered out.  Add the onions and garlic, to the pan and gently fry until translucent.  Run your fingers down the rosemary and thyme sprigs to remove the leaves from the stems and add them to the onion mixture gently frying until aromatic.  Pour in the wine and simmer for a few minutes.

Drain one of the tins of beans and add to the pan and then add the other with all the liquid.   This will work like a starchy stock and help thicken the sauce.  Add the tomatoes and simmer for a good ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Just before serving, add half of the parmesan and stir to combine. Have a taste and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the beans between four serving plates.  Top with two sausages per plate and sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and parsley and a small drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.  Serve with crusty chargrilled ciabatta bread and a crisp green salad.

*Speck portions are usually found in the deli section of the supermarket or good delicatessens.  If you can’t get it pancetta or bacon are a good substitute.