Escarole & Beans 2 Ways
2 for 1 today.
I have your lunch and dinner planned.
Why do I always forget about escarole? It is a variety of endive/chicory and reminiscent of my childhood friends' Italian American mothers' homes.
They always made "scarole & beans".
I make it maybe once a year in a salad with walnuts and red onions and always say I am going to buy it more often, but never do.
It's winter, it's cold, we need easy and we need a soup. I have you covered.
And for dinner my friends, we are having the same soup a little zhuzhed up with pasta.
All you need is a box of good quality chicken stock (I like Swanson's 33% less sodium the best).....but go ahead and use your homemade stock. It will send this recipe over the top.
A can of beans is your friend, and I always have many in the cupboard (Goya is my fave brand).
Also, if you have noticed over the years, I save my parmesan rinds and keep them in the freezer. They are money in the bank. I throw a small piece in most of my stocks while simmering, and it gives that delicious umami taste.
Here is the perfect, low carb, low calorie, satisfying lunch (don't worry, the carbs will come later at dinner).
Escarole & Bean Soup:
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 can of cannellini beans, drained
4 cups of chicken stock
1 head of escarole, washed and roughly chopped
hot pepper flakes, salt & pepperf
Parmigiano Reggiano to finish
In a large stockpot, saute the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant.
Add in the stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and add in the escarole and the can of beans.
Cover the pot so the greens cook, for about 5 minutes or so. Uncover and simmer another 5 minutes.
Garnish with hot pepper flakes, salt & pepper and freshly grated Parmesan (not the stuff in the can, ever).
Time for dinner:
We are going to make a pasta dish with the leftover escarole and beans, with the addition of sausage.
I use sausage very sparingly, because I am not a big meat/pork eater. One link goes a long way. Here is what you will need:
2 cups of the leftover escarole bean soup
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 good quality Italian sausage links, casings removed
8 oz. of pasta, I like paccheri, which are big flat tubes (rigatoni is fine)
toasted breadcrumbs (optional)
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute the onion with the sausage, breaking up the pork as you go. About 5 minutes until the sausage is no longer pink.
Add in about 2 cups (it's ok if you don't have that much leftover, use what you have) of the escarole and bean soup you made for lunch ;).
Cook your pasta. Once done, transfer the macaroni to the skillet w/ the escarole, beans and sausage mixture.
I don't drain my pasta, because I like some of the pasta water to cling to the paccheri, it will thicken the sauce. I transfer the cooked macaroni directly into the skillet with a slotted spoon.
Mix everything together and season with either anchovy breadcrumbs (yes, that's right), or more grated cheese.
This is easy, even though I have rambled on....and really fantastic.
Hard to believe I am not Italian.