Rustic Italian Chili

"Inspired by the unique flavors of Italy with all the delightful elements of a traditional chili. A beautiful harmony of rustic ingredients including sweet basil and fennel sausage, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar giving a hint of warmth and sweetness. Red pepper sausage and Calabrian pepper gives a subtle heat while the smoky, savory prosciutto along with the trio of Italian beans and vibrant pepperoncini creates this uncomplicated beautifully composed dish that will undoubtedly impress! This versatile chili is enjoyable throughout the day so pairing with either a Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc will complement the complexity of flavors."

Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

1 hour

Paired With

Main Protein



prosciutto 4 thin slices (deli or pre packaged), 3 links, 1/2 lb., 1 cup, 1 Tbsp., 1 Tbsp., 1 (14.5 oz) can (cut into chunks), 1 (14.5 oz.) can, 1 Tbsp., 1/4 tsp., 1/4 tsp., 1/2 tsp., 1/2 tsp., 1 sprig, 2 sprigs, 3 Tbsp., 1 (15 oz. can) drained, 1 (15 oz. can) drained, 1 (15 oz.) can drained, 1 cut into 1" chunks, 1 small cut into 1/2 " wedges, 3 large sliced, 2 Tbsp. divided
sweet Italian sausage
hot Italian sausage bulk
beef stock
brown sugar
tomato paste
Italian style stewed tomatoes
petite diced tomatoes
balsamic vinegar
ground fennel
Calabrian or red chili flakes
smoked paprika
chili powder
fresh oregano leaves removed from stem
fresh Italian parsley leaves removed from stem
pepperoncini juice from jar (or mild banana pepper)
garbanzo beans
cannellini beans
butter beans
green bell pepper
sweet yellow onion
garlic cloves
olive oil


In large skillet on medium heat lightly brown prosciutto slices, remove and set aside.  Add the three sweet Italian sausage links whole, brown on all sides, remove and set aside.  Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and pinch off quarter size pieces of bulk hot Italian sausage, browning both sides, remove and set aside.  Add beef stock, brown sugar and tomato paste to deglaze the pan stirring for 2-3 minutes to loosen all the bits, remove pan from heat.  After sausages and prosciutto have cooled enough to handle, cut prosciutto into 1/2″ pieces and cut the links into 1/2″ rounds.


In a Dutch oven or large saucepan on medium heat Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, onions and garlic sautéing until soft.  Add all of the remaining ingredients including deglazed beef stock and meats with the exception of the butter beans (adding these during the last 15 minutes of cooking).  Reduce heat and simmer cover for a total of 1 hour, periodically stirring gently.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  

Serves 6-8

Prep time 30 min.

Cook time 1 hr.


Serve with:

shredded provolone or parmesan cheese

giardiniera or pepperoncini

crusty Italian bread or croutons

Mascarpone cheese or sour cream



This recipe can easily convert to vegetarian by substituting with plant based Italian sausages and vegetable stock.