Main course

Spezzatino di salsiccia Toscana

Tuscan sausage stew combines pork sausages with beans and kale in a fresh tomato-based sauce. I suppose it is similar to a French cassoulet, but much simpler and fresher, using Italian ingredients and techniques. While a cassoulet takes an age to make and could floor a rhino with its richness, a classic Tuscan casserole is the opposite of all that. Fresh ingredients, tons of flavour, bursts of colour and a rapid cook is what defines a great Tuscan ‘spezzatino‘.

Many (most) recipes for Tuscan sausage stew suggest slicing the sausages. This is a dumb idea. They will just break down and leave you with pork mince. It is better to leave them whole. The exception to that would be a classic ‘zuppa Toscana,’ which is a completely different dish, and is a proper soup of crumbled sausage with bread used as a thickener – similar to the rice-based minestrone.

Spezzatino di salsiccia Toscana

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By Nigel Eastmond Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 30 mins


  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 8–12 pork sausages (2 or 3 per diner; if you can get genuine Tuscan sausages, then great)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Small handful of fresh sage leaves, finely sliced (chiffonade)
  • 500g cherry tomatoes, halved (see notes)
  • 380g cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 150g cavolo nero or curly kale, chopped up a bit with large stems removed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



Heat the lard in a frying pan and brown the sausages on all sides. Remove the sausages to a plate. Reserve the fat.


Heat the olive oil in a large casserole and pour in the reserved lard and any pan scrapings. Sauté the onions, celery and carrots until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute further. Add the browned sausages and all the other ingredients. Season and simmer on low for about 20 mins.


Canned chopped tomatoes are also fine in a pinch.

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