Slow Cooker Sausage, Bean and Pasta Stew

Combine sausage, pasta and beans for a comforting stew.
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 230g dried white beans such as cannellini, rinsed
  • 6-8 springs of fresh thyme, tied into a bouquet garni
  • 500g sweet or hot Italian sausages
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 1 Parmesan rind, plus grated Parmesan to serve
  • 100g ditalini pasta
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsps balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crusty bread to serve

Spread the onions over the bottom of a large slow cooker and top with the carrots, garlic, white beans, thyme bundle and the sausages. Mix the diced tomatoes with the stock and 750ml water and pour over the sausages. Add the Parmesan rind if using.

Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours; the beans will be tender and begin to fall apart. Uncover the slow cooker, remove and discard the thyme bundle and Parmesan rind and transfer the sausage links to a cutting board. Stir the pasta into the stew and continue to cook, covered, until the pasta is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Cut the sausages into bite-size pieces and stir into the stew along with the parsley and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan on the side for sprinkling on top and crusty bread for soaking up the broth.

Cook's Note: This stew is also a great way to use up leftover cooked pasta. Simply omit the ditalini, reduce the water by 250ml and stir 140g of cooked pasta (cut up if long noodles) into the finished stew along with the sausage pieces.

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