Serve this traditional Italian dish as an amazing salad to start a meal or as a wonderful side dish. The warmth and flavor combination of this amazing dish is particularly good on a cold winter’s day or night. Nourishment for the body and soul. So good.
Braised Escarole with Cannellini Beans
- 1 lb dried cannellini beans or Great Northern beans
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 2 yellow onions cut into quarters
- 2 carrots cut into 2-inch pieces
- 8 cloves garlic 4 left whole for cooking with the beans, 4 minced for sauteing the escarole
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 ounces pancetta chopped
- 2 heads escarole washed, dried, and torn into roughly 1 to 2 inch pieces
- 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes preferably San Marzano...removed from juice and roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Rinse the beans under cold running water..
- Place the beans in a large bowl, add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches.
- Let stand at room temperature overnight.
- In a large Dutch oven (or heavy duty pot), combine the drained beans, the stock, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil
- Add enough 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, and then reduce to low, partially cover.
- Simmer until the beans are very tender, about 2 hours.
- Remove the onions, garlic cloves, and sage. Discard.
- About 30 minutes before the beans are done, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and pancetta. Saute for about 1 minute.
- Add the escarole and saute until the leaves begin to wilt, about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves have softened and the mixture is reduced to about 1/3 - about 8 minutes.
- When the beans are finished, add the escarole mixture and stir.
- Break up some of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon, to thicken slightly.
- Stir in the lemon juice.
- Season liberally with salt and pepper (taste as you add).
- Serve immediately, passing the olive oil.