Beans and escarole is a classic Italian dish that is all things hearty, healthy, and absolutely delicious. The first time I ever had beans and escarole, I was at my favorite Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh, Girasole. Now last night was my first attempt at ever making beans and escarole and I have it say, I nailed it.
This can be an awesome appetizer, or main course. It most definitely qualifies as comfort food which is exactly what I was craving on a cold snowy Friday night in. Bu the main inspiration behind attempting this dish is because my husband and I ARE GOING TO ITALY IN MARCH!!! For 10 days! I can hardly contain my excitement and I plan to eat absolutely everything. I’m talking gelato between every meal, wine whenever we please, and pasta, pasta, pasta. But enough bragging, here are the details for beans and escarole:
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 inch slice of pancetta, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (the stuff in the tube is so great)
- 1 can of cannelloni beans
- small head of escarole, washed and chopped
- 1 can of vegetable broth
- parmesan cheese (the real stuff!!)
- wee bit of olive oil
- delicious bread
This is a one pot meal which is good news for the dish washer in your house. Start with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add pancetta and cook until it has rendered some. Next, add the carrot, onion, and celery and cook until translucent. Add some salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook until it doesn't appear to look raw anymore. Next mix in the tomato paste for about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and simmer for 3-4 minutes. I added some red pepper flakes at this point for some spice, but this is totally optional. I get it, some people are wimps and don't like spice. Now add the beans and escarole and stir around until warmed and wilted.
I served mine on a shallow plate with garlic Naan bread to soak up the flavorful liquid. The Naan bread is obviously not Italian, but it is pretty freaking good, so deal with it. Finally - and this next step is very important - use a vegetable peeler to top with big chards of Parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!