Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Escarole with Cannellini Beans



Believe it or not, there are times when sweet just doesn't cut it for me.   Sometimes I just need warm and healthy and wholesome and filling and slow-cookin', but not heavy.  This dish fills the requirement perfectly.

Start the night before and soak your beans in cold water overnight.  Then drain and rinse the beans.  Add the beans to a stockpot with some chicken or vegetable stock, water, and olive oil.  Add some onions, carrots, garlic, and sage and simmer away until the beans are tender (1 1/2 - 2 hours).


When the beans are tender, remove from the heat and remove and discard any large pieces of onion, garlic, and sage.



In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes and pancetta, then the escarole.  Cook 5 minutes until escarole is wilted.



Add the tomatoes and seasoning...


...then the beans.  Sprinkle with lemon and adjust seasonings.  Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan shavings and feel good!



Escarole with Cannellini Beans



  • 1 lb. dried cannellini beans or Great Northern beans
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, 4 left whole, 4 minced
  • 2 fresh sage sprigs
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I used a scant 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 oz. pancetta or unsmoked bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 2 heads escarole, about 2 lb. total, cut crosswise into strips 2 inches wide
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin Olive oil for drizzling and shaved parmesan for garnish


Pick over the beans, removing any misshapen beans or grit. Rinse under cold running water. Put the beans in a large bowl, add cold water to cover by at least 2 inches and let stand at room temperature overnight. Alternatively, for a quick soak, put the beans in a large pot, add water to cover by at least 2 inches and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.

Stovetop method: In a large Dutch oven, combine the beans, the broth and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add cold water to cover the beans by about 1 1/2 inches. Add the onions, carrots, whole garlic cloves and sage. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, partially cover and simmer gently until the beans are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the onions, garlic cloves and sage and discard.

Slow-cooker method: In a slow cooker, combine the beans, the broth and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add cold water to cover the beans by about 1 1/2 inches. Add the onions, carrots, whole garlic cloves and sage. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the beans are very tender, about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Remove the onions, garlic cloves and sage and discard.

About 30 minutes before the beans are done, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes and pancetta and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the escarole and sauté until the leaves begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves have softened and the mixture is reduced to about one-third, 5 to 7 minutes.

When the beans are done, add the escarole mixture and stir, breaking up some of the beans with the back of the spoon to thicken the mixture slightly. Stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, passing the remaining olive oil and shaved parmesan at the table. Serves 6 to 8.

1 comment:

  1. We used to go to this little hole in the wall on the Southside and order this. Love it!

    ReplyDelete

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