Fagioli all’Uccelletto (Cannellini With Sage, Tomato and Sausage)

Fagioli all’uccelletto, or “beans cooked like little birds” is a simple, homey dish, originally from Tuscany, Italy. Traditionally it is made from a handful of everyday ingredients and served as a meal on its own, with crispy white bread for dipping. The beans receive a liberal dousing of good quality extra-virgin olive oil right before they are eaten. No other embellishments needed.

Fagioli all’Uccelletto (Cannellini With Sage, Tomato and Sausage)

Recipe by Anna BembryCourse: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


Cooking time


Preparation time


minutes + overnight soaking

The cozy mix of beans and sausage.


  • For the beans
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 sprig fresh sage (or other fresh herb, like rosemary)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • For serving
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 sweet Italian sausages

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 4 fresh sage leaves

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Prepare the beans: Add cannellini to a sieve and rinse and drain well, discarding any pebbles or broken bits. Transfer the beans to a bowl, cover with about 3 inches of cold water and soak overnight.
  • The next day, drain the beans and place in a large pot (allow enough space for them to double in size). Cover with cold water by about 2 inches and add garlic and sage.
  • Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Pour in a generous splash of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently, covered, until the beans are tender, 40 – 50 minutes. Stir in salt and continue cooking gently for 10 minutes. If not using right away, cool the beans in their liquid, then refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Finish the dish: Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C. Heat a large, ovenproof pan over medium-high heat and coat generously with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Slice sausages open lengthwise and crumble filling directly into the pan; discard the casings. Add garlic and sage and cook until sausage is browned, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, stir, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until sauce is thick and glossy, 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Stir in 4 cups of prepared beans. Season with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the pan to the oven and continue cooking until the edges are crusty and browned, 25 -30 minutes. Drizzle the surface with olive oil just before serving. Eat piping hot with bread for dipping.


  • The dish can also be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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