Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans

Chow on 10.26.10
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Before my food career....even before I knew what the word "blog" was, Pam Anderson was my virtual kitchen mentor with her brilliant book, The Perfect Recipe.

My book looks a little different than the current cover for sale at bookstores, the pages all have little sticky notes as bookmarks and it was the very first time that I marked notes in pen on the pages of a beloved cookbook.

I had decided that this was a book that was to be passed down future generations with "Grandma's handwritten notes scribbled all over it"

Pam taught me how to make the Perfect French Bread and walked me through my very first Perfect Prime Rib.

In fact, back in 1998, that meal was the very first time I had ever cooked for my parents. Ever. It was absolutely marvelous...and to top it all was Christmas dinner.

Nyc-dumpling-festival-2-4 So now that you understand my fondness for Pam Anderson, you'll understand why I adore this spunky blonde girl in the photo. Maggy is Pam's daughter and we've become friends via blogging and travel.

When I first met Pam, Maggy and Sharon (Maggy's sister), it took all every ounce of self control not to hug her like a crazy stalker-fan and call her "Kitchen Mom." Thank goodness for the glass of wine prior to the handshake.

So there are a couple of things I want you to see. The first is a little video that my best friends Todd and Diane of White On Rice Couple created as a "trailer" for the Andersons' new book "Perfect One Dish Dinners" - see video on their blog (it's on the sidebar).

The second is a recipe below, courtesy of Pam and her publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (thanks guys!) It's for their Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans - and the mouthwatering photo above is also from the book.

And the third is that I want you to take a look at some of the other bloggers who have cooked on our virtual "pot luck" celebrating this new book. What a wonderful community.


Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans

Perfect One Dish Dinners by Pamela Anderson

Serves 8

If there’s time, sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over each plated portion for a nice touch. Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Toss 2 cups fresh bread crumbs (made in the food processor from a good European-style loaf) with 2 tablespoons melted butter and a light sprinkling of salt. Add the crumbs to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Stored in the refrigerator and warmed on the stovetop or in the microwave, this dish means instant dinner later in the week.

2½ pounds sweet Italian sausage links
3 pints cherry tomatoes
1 medium-large onion, cut into 1½-inch chunks
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cans (about 16 ounces each) white beans, undrained

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix sausages, tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, bay leaves, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large heavy roasting pan. Set pan in oven and roast until sausages are brown and tomatoes have reduced to a thick sauce, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, stir in beans, and continue to cook until casserole has heated through, about 10 minutes longer. Serve.

Drink: An earthy, full-flavored Languedoc or Grenache