Simple and tasty recipe, luganega with beans is a true heritage of the peasant culture of northern Italy. However, the typicality of the recipe is combined not so much with the dish itself, but with the sausages. In fact, if instead of Luganega you use Tuscan, Umbrian or Campanian sausages…. The recipe remains practically the same, but typical of Tuscany, Umbria or Campania.
In any case, sausages with beans or luganega with beans, we are talking about a typical peasant dish, which has always been considered a unique dish. Maybe the main dish par excellence, accompanied only by polenta in the north and toasted, greasy and preferably garlic bread in the central-south. A real pleasure, especially for those of a certain age who still dream about it but who, between colitis and cholesterol, are often forced to limit themselves to dreaming about it.
Luganega is a long, thin sausage made with fresh meat.. generally considered traditional Lombardy. In fact it is prepared in almost all regions of the Alpine arc, and particularly (in addition to Lombardy) in Veneto. Where its production is documented, in Padua, since the beginning of the 16th century.
Besides there are many versions, which have the same name although they are different, both in content (for example, the Luganega of Treviso) and in form (for example, the Luganega of Trentino). And we have only given two examples among the many possible ones.
About himorigin of the name “luganega” no agreement has yet been reached. There are those who derive it from Lucca, those who come from Lugo di Romagna and those who remember (this is the most accredited thesis) that when they came to conquer the Po Valley, the Roman legionaries brought with them a sausage called “lucanica”, because it was discovered with the conquest of Lucania (the current Basilicata) in the 3rd century BC
Regarding the recipe for luganega with beans that we propose, it is only worth saying that Dried beans are traditionally used. For the obvious reason that they were once the only ones available all year round.
We have respected tradition, also because the flavor is fuller and more satisfying. However, for various reasons, fresh or frozen beans are preferred today, which are similar in all respects to fresh. The result will be a luganega with beans with a slightly less intense flavor, but still excellent. And certainly lighter and more suitable for non-winter periods.
- 600 g Luganega cut into rolls approximately 6-7 cm long
- 300 g dried beans soaked in water overnight
- 1 liter of broth ready and at room temperature
- 200 g tomato puree
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ onion
- Pepper or chili
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Remove the beans from soaking, rinse them and place them in a saucepan with the broth. Turn on the heat, bring to a boil and then let them simmer with the lid on for as long as needed. This varies depending on the quality and age of the beans: it can take more than 2 hours, but generally (common dried beans like borlotti) it takes between 70 and 80 minutes. One liter of broth should be enough if we keep the heat low: there should be little liquid left in the pan at the end. However, if really necessary, add boiling water, very little at a time.
- While the beans are cooking, chop the onion and sauté it in a small frying pan with 4 tablespoons of oil, over very low heat, for about 5 minutes. We add a sage leaf and the sliced garlic, letting it fry for a few more minutes, always over very low heat. As soon as the garlic begins to brown, add the tomato puree, mix and let the sauce thicken for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
- When you think the beans are almost cooked (more like al dente, so about 15 minutes before they are cooked to perfection), pour the tomato sauce into the pan where the beans are cooking. Mix slowly (be careful not to break the beans) and finish cooking, over medium-low heat and half covered. If you prefer chili, add a piece with the sauce.
- Separately, degrease the sausage by boiling it for a few minutes in a little water. Drain it and add it to the beans, letting it season (stirring several times) for another 4-5 minutes. Adjust the heat so that at the end the cooking juice is fluid, but not liquid. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving the luganega with beans, seasoning (if you have not used chilli) with freshly ground pepper.