Fagioli all’Uccelletto con Salsiccia

Literally, beans in “little birds style” with sausage, but in spite of this curious name, there are no birds involved at all. No one actually knows where the name all’uccelletto comes from. We only can suppose that these beans are thus called because they are cooked the same way little birds were cooked. At least, according to Pellegrino Artusi, who calls them “fagiuoli a guisa d’uccellini” (beans in “little birds style”) in his famous cookbook Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well (1881). Whatever their origin, fagioli all’uccelletto are one of one of the most famous (and delicious) Tuscan dishes. One of those you never have enough of. Like many other Tuscan recipes, fagioli all’uccelletto probably have a peasant origin, seing that their made only with beans, sage and tomato sauce. In the Florentine area (where fagioli all’uccelletto actually come from), sausages are usually added to make a complete dish, but you can cook beans alone to have a scrumptious side dish that everyone will surely enjoy.

To make fagioli all’uccelletto you need to use already cooked white beans (possibly, cannellini). You can either buy them cooked from your grocery store or buy them dried. In this case, they need to be soaked in water for a night or so (at least 12 hours) then boiled (it will take about an hour before they are evenly cooked and soft). Consider that beans double their weight when cooked, so if you have 250 grams of dried beans are about 500-600 grams of cooked beans.

Ingredients

600 g cooked white beans (cannellini)
100 g tomato pulp
3-4 tbsps extravergine olive oil
1-2 sprigs of sage
1-2 garlic cloves
3-4 sausages
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: about 30-40 minutes

Serves 2-3

In a large saucepan heat oil and let the garlic and sage leaves gently fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove garlic and pour the tomato pulp. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Now stir in the beans. After a few minutes add sausages (you’d better cut them lengthwise so that they can be evenly cooked inside). Cook for about 30 minutes stirring now and then and adding a little water if necessary.

Fagioli all’uccelletto must be very creamy when ready. Add salt and pepper to taste, but remember that beans are rather salty on their own, so be careful.

Serve hot.

Fagioli all’Uccelletto con Salsiccia

Nonostante il nome curioso, di uccelli non c’è traccia in questa ricetta. Nessuno in realtà sa da dove venga il nome all’uccelletto. Si può solo supporre che questi fagioli si chiamino così per via del metodo di cottura, simile a quello usato per cuocere gli uccelli. Almeno secondo Pellegrino Artusi che, nel libro La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (1881), li chiama “fagiuoli a guisa d’uccellini”. Qualunque sia la loro origine, i fagioli all’uccelletto sono uno dei piatti toscani più famosi (e buoni). Uno di quelli che quando ci sono non bastano mai. Come molte altre ricette toscane, i fagioli all’uccelletto hanno probabilmente un’origine contadina, visto che si preparano solo con fagioli, salvia e passata di pomodoro. A Firenze, la patria dei fagioli all’uccelletto, di solito si aggiungono anche le salcicce per avere un piatto unico, ma si possono mangiare anche da soli come contorno che farà impazzire tutti. 

Per fare i fagioli all’uccelletto occorrono fagioli già cotti (possibilmente cannellini). Si possono comprare cotti direttamente in negozio (fornai o gastronomie), oppure secchi. In questo caso, vanno lasciati a bagno in acqua una notte e poi messi a bollire per un’ora circa. Considerate che i fagioli raddoppiano il loro peso quando sono cotti, per cui circa 250 grammi di fagioli secchi corrispondono a circa 500-600 grammi di fagioli cotti.

Ingredienti

600 g di fagioli cannellini cotti
100 g di passata di pomodoro
3-4 cucchiai di olio extravergine di oliva 
1-2 rametti di salvia
1-2 spicchi d’aglio
3-4 salsicce
sale e pepe q.b.

Tempo di preparazione: 5 minuti
Tempo di cottura: about 30-40 minuti

Per 2-3 persone

Scaldare l’olio in una padella e far soffriggere l’aglio e le foglie di salvia per 2-3 minuti. Togliere l’aglio e versare la passata di pomodoro. Cuocere per 2-3 minuti. Aggiungere i fagioli mescolando bene e, dopo alcuni minuti, aggiungere le salsicce (meglio se preventivamente incise nel senso della lunghezza per permettere una cottura uniforme). Cuocere per circa 30 minuti, aggiungendo acqua se necessario.

I fagioli all’uccelletto devono risultare molto cremosi. Aggiustare di sale e pepe a gusto, facendo molta attenzione perché i fagioli sono naturalmente salati di suo.

Servire caldi.

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19 comments
  1. summersher said:

    I love how vibrant this is from the red tomatoes! Sound super comforting… yum!!

    • Rita said:

      Thank you Caitlin! ;) I’d eat tons of beans…. Too delicious!

  2. I recently met someone who was telling me about a tradition of making ravioli with leftover turkey meat (from our Thanksgiving) with her Italian-American family, and they call them “little birdies.” I wonder if there’s some relationship in technique – maybe they’re braised in tomato sauce as well. I love traditions with mysterious origins!

    Also, I love this recipe for its simplicity – I’m such a fan of white beans and tomatoes.

    • Rita said:

      Who knows? Maybe there’s a connection. I’ve eaten fagioli all’uccelletto all my life but no one really knows why they’re called like this. It so funny! Something so familiar and yet so mysterious… Anyway, they’re delicious, so who cares where their name comes from! Let’s enjoy fagioli!! :P

  3. This is a wonderful comfort meal – yummy. What sausages do you use? :-) Mandy

    • Rita said:

      I use pork sausages (absolutely fresh), those you buy from the butcher. I don’t know what kind of sausages you can find in Mauritius. Let me know, I’m curious! ;)

      • Perfect, I love pork sausages.
        We can actually get quite a variety of sausages here, a lot of them are imported from France plus we can also get really nice fresh sausages at a butcher that opened up a short while ago. Slowly we are able to get more and more things here. Yippee. :-) Mandy

      • Rita said:

        Perfect! And remember you can cook beans without sausages, too. They make a perfect side dish this way. ;)

  4. Mmm…looks like another great dish to have on a cold winter’s day. What would you recommend eating this with? On it’s own or with some pasta, rice?

    • Rita said:

      On its own. Absolutely. Well, with some bread it would be perfect (preferably toasted). If you cook beans without sausages, they’re a perfect side dish. Ah, and don’t forget a glass of good red wine! ;)

  5. Looks like a posh version of baked beans, this dish looks so delicious.

    • Rita said:

      Thanks! Well, they seem posh but they aren’t. They’re so peasant-style, instead… I think they were mainly eaten by country folk in old times. Now they’re very popular in village festivals. ;)

  6. Cindy said:

    Where have you been all my life? We must be twins!
    I cook beans and sausage at least once a week. My favourite are with red kidney beans and chilli. Love this.

    • Rita said:

      Ah ah… there must be a secret connection between us… ;) And yes, we love beans, too (Mario more than me because of his Mexican origins… beans everywhere!!!! Well, Mario loves anything dealing with food, actually… :P)

  7. I love how simple and HEALTHY this is in the midst of holiday overkill. Hope your injury is healing nicely

    • Rita said:

      Thank you, Sally! Yes, I’m doing pretty well. ;)

  8. Katerina said:

    I love beans, my son also. He would love this recipe because it has sausage which he loves too. Very hearty meal.

    • Rita said:

      Thank you. Hope you try it: it’s soooo easy! ;)

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