Cassoulet is one of those beautiful things in this world that is far more than the sum of its parts. Traditionally, cassoulet is a multi-day process but this recipe promises a satisfying and complex result in only 30 minutes. What could be better than a cozy pan of creamy beans, dotted with sausage, and blanketed by a crispy, golden top?
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 sweet or hot Italian sausages (about 1 pound total)
1 onion (any color), chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Two (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini or white northern beans (undrained)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 cup panko, coarse fresh bread crumbs, or cracker crumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Prick sausages all over with the tip of a knife. Add the sausages to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
Add onion, celery, and garlic to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans and their liquid, the water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Slice sausages and return to the skillet. Stir in the vinegar and remove from heat.
Preheat broiler with rack in the top position. In a small bowl, stir panko, parsley, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season the bread crumbs with a little salt and pepper and scatter over beans and sausage. Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil (watch carefully! Broilers vary like crazy) until the top is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.