Escarole & Beans
As you might hear Italians pronnounce it “scarola” – its a peasant dish that is vegetarian, as most peasant dishes are. Today you might find some recipes that include pancetta or bacon, but the true recipe had no meat at all of any kind.
This is so incredibly simple that you wonder how “Italian” restaurants get it wrong (especially strip mall pizzerias). There are no tomatoes in this, there are no onions, no meat. Only what you see below.
The first thing you want to do is be sure to wash the escarole very well with cold water. It can get very gritty and sandy from the soil its grown in. Separate all the leaves, spray off and soak in a bowl of cold water, rinse, rinse again, and set aside for it to be chopped up later.
- Bunch or head of Escarole, about 1 pound.
- 2 cups of water, but chicken stock is better.
- 3 cloves of Garlic, finely sliced, or smashed
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Beans (white cannelini or red kidney beans)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- *Some add diced pancetta, while this is really a vegetarian dish, some choose to brown the pancetta with the garlic.
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot add olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic over medium heat (diced pancetta optional) until you can smell the garlic aroma. Add in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and add white or red kidney beans. Reduce to a simmer, and once the beans are heated, add in your chopped escarole. Cook until they are wilted. Add grated parmesan cheese, serve with garlic bread, good Italian bread, French baguette, etc.