This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
A savory one-dish chicken sausage recipe that’s perfect for a busy weeknight. This dish combines cannellini beans, leafy greens, Italian chicken sausage and tomato marinara sauce, all topped with cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs. Yum!
This hearty Italian-style chicken sausage stew is perfect to make when you crave something that tastes hearty and homemade, but don’t have hours to cook a weeknight meal. I love to serve it with buttery orzo pasta.
It almost feels like a party trick — pulling dinner for the family out of a hat (or basic ingredients from your pantry in this case).
For this recipe, I riffed on the classic ingredients of a rustic Tuscan-style white bean soup or ribolita, a type of thick Italian peasant soup made with beans, vegetables and stale bread.
Everything simmers on the stovetop in one pan (and BTW smells AMAZING), fusing all those ingredients into a savory dish with layers of flavor and textures.
- Chicken sausage: A favorite healthful alternative (and my pick for making stovetop gnocchi). Look for an Italian type of chicken sausage, sweet or hot depending on which you enjoy. Of course, choose your favorite chicken sausage brand, or Italian sausage made with other kinds of meat or protein can be substituted.
- Marinara sauce: I use my homemade marinara recipe made with canned tomatoes, but your favorite prepared sauce will be perfect.
- Canned white beans: I recommend cooked cannellini beans (canned or cooked from scratch) because they are larger than other kinds of white beans and are deliciously creamy-textured.
- Chicken broth: Regular canned broth or homemade chicken broth is best.
- Kale: Adding a few handfuls of greens turns this skillet dinner into a nutritious and satisfying meal. Swap in whatever leafy greens you have on hand (spinach, chard, collards, etc).
- Breadcrumbs: Used as a garnish to finish the dish, the breadcrumbs add crunch and also help to thicken the texture of the sauce. I’m not gonna lie, homemade breadcrumbs have the best texture and flavor, but I know it’s not always convenient to make them in a pinch. The best substitute are panko crumbs.
- Grated cheese: Use freshly grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan.
Chicken sausage stew cooking steps:
Use your largest wide skillet, ideally 12-inches in diameter.
- Store the cooked stew in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Keep in mind it will thicken up as it cools. If you prefer more of a saucy dish, stir in a bit more marinara or chicken broth when reheating.
- Serve the stew along with cooked orzo, rice one of your favorite short pasta shapes (fusilli, cavatelli, farfalle, etc.)
Italian Chicken Sausage Stew (One-Dish Dinner)
- ½ cup (108 g) fresh breadcrumbs, or panko
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (160 g) chopped yellow onion
- 1 pound (450 g) uncooked chicken sausage, sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- ½ – 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Kosher salt
- 2 15-ounce cans (850 g) cannellini beans, drained
- ½ cup (125 ml) chicken broth
- 2½ cups (500 ml) prepared marinara sauce, (one 24-ounce jar) or homemade marinara sauce
- 2 cups (60 g) torn kale, or other leafy greens
- ⅓ cup (30 g) grated Pecorino Romano cheese, or Parmesan
Toast the breadcrumbs
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are crisp and golden brown. Set aside.
Cook the stew
- Put the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet (12-inches). Place over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the sausage. Cook the sausage until it begins to brown, stirring it around the pan so it doesn’t stick.
- Stir in the garlic, rosemary, red pepper and a pinch of salt to taste. Cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the beans, broth and marinara sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the texture has thickened.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese over the top and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Adding a few handfuls of greens makes this a nutritious and satisfying meal in one pan. Swap in whatever leafy greens you have on hand (spinach, chard, collards, etc).
- If you want to use pre-cooked chicken sausage, slice it into pieces, then add it along with the marinara sauce before bringing to a simmer.
- This stew will thicken up as it cools. If you prefer more of a saucy dish, stir in a bit more marinara or chicken broth when reheating.