pam anderson’s cassoulet-style italian sausages and white beans

There are two cooks in my house. My husband was the original cook, the one who got us through my four years of medical school and a good portion of my residency. If it weren’t for him, I would have survived on bowls of cereal, canned soup, and takeout Chinese. Instead, he kept us well fed with a steady repertoire of grilled chicken dishes, beans, rice, and pasta. He’s not a recipe-reading type, and he prefers making meals that are intuitive and require less than 30 minutes.

When I started cooking back in 2003, it took me a while to get comfortable in the kitchen. I’m still quite the novice home cook, but I’m no longer afraid to work with raw meat or tackle a recipe with multiple steps. I’m not afraid of cooking anymore.

Wow. That feels good to say.

While my husband is more of the open-a-box-of-pasta-and-a-jar-of-sauce type of cook, I try to make our meals from scratch, as much as I can. I’m not at Jennie’s level, but I’m working on it [and she makes it seem SO easy]. These days, I look for a challenge in the kitchen, a new recipe that I can make my own, food I can play around with. I rarely make the same recipe twice.

Except this one. I’ve now made this twice in one week.

This Cassoulet-style Italian Sausages and White Beans comes from Pam Anderson’s new cookbook, Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers. After hearing all of the wonderful things said about her book, and after getting to know Pam and her daughters, Maggy and Sharon, through their blog, Three Many Cooks, I bought it as a gift for myself. The book is filled with recipes that appeal both to cooks like me, and also to cooks like my husband.

For working parents like my husband and me, this is a great resource. It’s filled with many ideas for simple menus filled with great ingredients and robust flavor. Like this recipe.

I served this dinner to my parents this Sunday night. Paired with a simple green salad and slices of crusty baguette for dipping, it was a wonderful Sunday dinner. It took no more than an hour to make, and only ten minutes or so of prep time. A glass of Zinfandel would have paired lovely with it, had I remembered.

One more thing I love about this recipe? It makes people think I’m a much better cook than I really am.

Yield: 8 servings.

Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans

Special thanks to Pam Anderson for sharing this amazing recipe from her book, Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers. I made the recipe almost exactly as it is written, with the exception of a couple of modifications in line with my family's preferences. I decreased the amount of tomatoes to 2 pints, and I added a 4th can of white beans. Serve this with a nice green salad and some crusty bread


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


Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425°F.

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 or dutch oven. 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 roast until casserole has heated through, about 10 minutes longer. Remove bay leaves and serve.

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12 Responses to “the experiment: avocado and mango salsa”

  1. I will come over for dinner at your house and eat that amazing salsa! Looks great!

  2. Joy — June 23, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    That looks great. I like the combination of mango and avocados.

  3. Kristen — June 23, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    I have a bowl of homemade mango salsa sitting in my fridge for tonight’s dinner (jerk chicken), but I hadn’t thought of adding avocado. It sounds like a great addition.

  4. Magic of Spice — June 23, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

    Sounds great and healthy too. I think it looks pretty:)

  5. Brian @ A Thought For Food — June 23, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    Yup… as soon as I saw the title for your post, I knew I’d love it. I bet this would be wonderful over grilled swordfish. Wonderful post!

  6. ++MIRA++ — June 23, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

    hey, the more you try the closer to success u’ll be! i know love all the foods my mum always tried to make me eat. looks good.

  7. Does your son like balsamic vinegar?

    In our house, we have cherry balsamic vineger from O&Co. It’s delicious!

    Cut avocado in half, take out the seed, pour in some balsamic vinegar, then top with grind of salt and pepper. Really good snack w/ 10g fiber. 😀


    And for the record, I would have eaten your dinner. 😉

    • merrygourmet

      merrygourmet replied: — June 24th, 2010 @ 8:29 am

      Kim – You have me drooling here with that avocado recipe. 🙂

  8. CC Recipe — June 24, 2010 @ 9:48 am

    Thanks for the inspiration, I am gonna give this a try on my kiddos:)

  9. Liren — June 24, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    Aw, it’s too bad that the kids didn’t like the mango! The salsa looks fantastic and I would gladly eat it up! if it makes you feel better, while my kids can sit and eat piles of mangoes, they prefer them plain, and ideally the sweeter variety called Champagne or Manila mangoes. I’m sure if presented in the salsa, they would’ve turned on the picky switch, too!

    Oh well! It was a great try and it looks and sounds SO delicious!!!

  10. Sasha — June 25, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    You poor mommies out there! Constantly struggling to find something to cook that your kids will like! All of you deserve medals for this task.
    I’ve always detested avocados myself, until very recently, and now I only eat them in guacamole form. But I must say, this recipe is very intriguing. I should try it and maybe it’ll broaden my forbidden avocado horizons : )

  11. This looks perfect for summer and I will be making it very soon… I also only started eating avocados in my 20s… couldn’t stand them as a child.

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