Escarole and Beans is cheap, easy to make, and healthy. My doctor always tells me to eat more greens and beans, so this recipe should make her happy. Escarole, scarola in Italian, looks like lettuce but with wider, wavy leaves. It’s in the chicory family, and like endive, and radicchio it has a slightly bitter taste when eaten raw. This is authentic Cucina Povera, the cooking of the poor.
¼ cup olive oil
2 head escarole – washed and cut into 1-inch slices
4 cloves sliced garlic
Salt, black, and red pepper – to taste
½ cup chicken stock
1 – 15-ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed.
Heat the oil in a large pot with salt, black and red pepper. Sauté the garlic on low heat until it’s soft but not brown.
Wash (drain but leave it wet) the escarole and cut it into one-inch slices removing the base and add it to the garlic and oil. It may seem like too much, but it will wilt and reduce in about ten minutes.
Cover the pot until the escarole begins to wilt and toss it to coat it with the oil.
Add a half cup of stock (or water) and the rinsed beans. Add some hot water if you’d like it thinner. Simmer ten minutes and serve.
In Italian its pasta e fagioli – that means “pasta and beans.” Some people call it pasta fazool. Both pronunciations are correct. In the Neapolitan dialect its pasta e fasule, often spelled pasta fazool in America.
In a large pot, cook the trinity in oil. When the vegetables are soft, add the beans and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered for 2 hours.
Add salt and pepper, the cherry tomatoes, 2 more cups of water, and the pasta. If necessary, add more water as the pasta cooks. When the pasta is almost done, throw in a couple of hands full of arugula or spinach. I’m using a mix of both. When the greens whilt, it’s ready to serve.
I think it’s tastier reheated the next day. Just add some water to the pot and stir over a low flame.
A pound of beans and a pound of pasta can rally grow as they cook. You might to cut those 2 ingredients in half.
My doctor says everyone should eat more beans and greens and less red meat. I’m trying, so here’s another bean and something recipe – Shrimp and Bean Soup. This one is from Evelyn. She adapted it from an old family recipe. You can use any kind of dried beans you like. I’m using Goya’s habichuelas blancas (small white beans).
To start – Pick through the beans and rinse them. Put them in a pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil and turn off heat. Let them sit for one hour. Or you can let them stand in 4 cups of cold water overnight.
In the meantime – Hear some oil in a large pot. Cook the trinity until it’s soft, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups of water, the beans, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender.
Remove a cup of beans and puree them in a blender or food processor and return them to the pot to thicken the soup. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add water. Put the shrimp in the pot, stir and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until done. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkling of olive oil.
Place the sausage in the freezer for 20 minutes. This makes it easier to slice and hold its shape. Brown the sausage in oil in a stock pot. Remove when done and leave the oil and fat in the pot.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the trinity and garlic. Cook on medium until the vegetables have softened.
Stir in the beans, 8 cups of water, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring it to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the beans are cooked – about 2 hours.
At this point remove about a cup of beans and puree them in a blender or food processor and return them to the pot to thicken the stew. Return the sausage to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, taste and adjust seasoning.