Coast Cooking

Mmm! Beans and sausage

Beans and sausage are a match made in heaven or your kitchen.
Beans and sausage are a match made in heaven or your kitchen. Special to the Sun Herald

I know you are probably still chuckling at my silly idea of delving into the foods we love when cool weather approaches.

But, that first cold front out of the north could arrive just about any day. So why not go ahead and give it some thought now?

One of the recipes that calls my name this time of the year is beans and sausage.

You can make it red beans and andouille sausage with rice for a south Louisiana flair, or you can just as easily make it with cannellini beans, Italian sausage, lots of Parmesan Reggiano and crusty bread.

It is a great example of how good recipes transcend cultural boundaries.

The basics are the same: beans and a fatty sausage. What makes the difference between good and great is the seasonings and complementary ingredients.

Red beans and rice can be made with a pork-base stock made with ham hocks and then get that extra kick by adding andouille, and the seasonings would be basic, but should include Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.

If you want to go the Italian route then a good spicy Italian sausage would be essential (several of the local grocery stores make their own fresh sausage), for seasonings use some fresh herbs such as basil and sage, but if you want to add a little oregano that would be good as well.

Perhaps most importantly would be the use of lots of Parmesan Reggiano (the real stuff imported from Italy please).

If you have been around an Italian kitchen you know that all good cooks save the leftover heals of Parmesan Reggiano for just such recipes.

No matter which recipe you choose, this is a delicious and affordable meal that your family will love.