Such a humble dish, but once you taste it, it rises to superstar status! Satisfying and economical, it uses a handful of ordinary ingredients. Once this Mediterranean-inspired dish is cooked up, you can’t get enough of it—and with every bite, it seems to get better.
We have been avid fans of chef/author Molly Stevens for decades, and this recipe came from our most recent cookbook addition “All About Dinner” which was released in 2019. It was gifted this past Christmas to The Hubs from one of the adult children, along with three other cookbooks—yes, we are a bit obsessed.
Our original plan was to soak dried white beans overnight. But the morning of, we realized we forgot to do that and therefore just used canned cannellinis which have a silky texture and nutty flavor. Opting for canned saves a step and some time, but if you prefer to soak beans by all means go ahead.
Our topping was not browning in the oven, so we put the gratin under the broiler. If you do the same, keep a close eyeball on it, because it browns very quickly under the intense heat. The next time we make this (which I hope is soon), we plan to drizzle olive oil with the bread crumbs and grated cheese before topping the gratin with it. This should help the browning process.
Do Ahead: The gratin can be prepared through Step 4 up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or so before serving.
White Bean Gratin with Tomatoes and Sausage
- About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 oz. fresh sweet Italian sausage, casings removed if using links
- 1 medium yellow onion (about 7 oz.), coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Pinch of mellow red pepper flakes, such as Aleppo, or crushed red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 15-oz. cans white beans, rinsed and drained
- One 14½-oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs or panko crumbs
- 2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup)
- Hot sauce such as Cholula or Tabasco for serving, optional
- Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the upper third. Lightly oil a medium gratin dish, shallow baking dish, or ovenproof skillet.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and use a spoon or metal spatula to flatten it into large chunks. (You get better browning on large flat chunks than crumbles.) Then cook, flipping it occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Break the sausage into bite-size pieces and transfer it to a large bowl and cover to keep warm, leaving the fat and drippings behind in the pan.
- Return the skillet to medium heat, add the onion, season with a pinch of salt, and cook until softened and lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and a few good grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring, until just fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the aromatics to the bowl with the sausage.
- Add the beans, tomatoes, with their juice, and parsley to the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir gently to combine without smashing the beans, then add a generous pour of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons), and season boldly with salt and pepper. Taste, being sure to taste both the aromatics and a bean, and correct the seasoning as needed. Pour the mixture into the prepared gratin dish and use the back of a spoon to spread into an even layer.
- Sprinkle the top of the beans with the bread crumbs and cheese. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake, uncovered, until heated through and beginning to brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. If the top is not as brown and crisp looking as you like, slide the gratin under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.
Recipe from All About Dinner by Molly Stevens