Friday, February 19, 2010

Italian Escarole & Beans with Crusty Italian Bread a few different ways!

Greens and Beans, Scadahl and Beans, Escarole and Beans, could be thick, or like soup. Just beans, over bread, or both.

                                 Whatever way grandma made this we ate it up...and loved it.

She called it depression food, inexpensive and fed many! Sometimes she fed the whole block, no kidding!

Poured over bread, the oil and garlic soaked up the bread and this was a delicious Italian Speciality! Mom made soup and this was an awesome change of pace on cold winter days, rib sticking foods.

Grandma was from Rome ,Italy and made a thick style escarole greens and beans over crusty Italian bread, just omitting the broth. Mom came from Bari, made this like a soup rich with chicken broth and my Dad's father came from Casserta and they liked just plain garlic seasoned beans over hard crusty bread, normally hard as a rock bread! So we had our fill of this many ways. I love every kinds of beans, greens plain but for me what made it a meal was the bread. I am a bread lover and thats my weakness, I very seldom eat a meal without dipping bread into the soup, sauce and yes I am a dipper~ Not much to adapting these recipe to pretty basic, easy and filling, Can you believe this was considered depression food back then?

I can't seem to get past eating my Italian foods without good Old Fashioned hard crusted Italian Bread.

Escarole is one of my favorite greens in many great recipes and one favorite of our is Traditional Wedding Soup and it's wonderful flavors ..

Dried beans done overnight in the crockpot, a huge difference in taste these are northern white beans.

Escarole and Beans Recipe:
1- 8 oz can of chicken broth or 1 cup fresh
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (first cold pressed) more for on top when serving
2 large heads escarole
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of each oregano, basil, parsley, we used all fresh ingredients when possible
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves minced garlic
2 lbs of fresh cooked dried northern beans   highly recommended or 2 (16 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained
plenty of pecorino romano cheese
If using fresh beans reserve 1/2 of the bean water
3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped,
pinch of cayenne pepper

Boil escarole seperately until tender about 35 minutes, drain.( Or take a shortcut if you work, do dried beans with water in one crock pot on high for 8 hours all day or overnight and escarole in the another crockpot filled with water and when you get home from work,  saute in oil and garlic, add broth, heat through add the seasonings and pour over hard crusty Italian bread!!! simple.)

For canned beans method. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat saute garlic till brown, add boiled escarole and coat with oil and garlic flavors.  Add the broth. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes and other seasonings. Stir in cooked beans, at this point.

Heat throughly and serve over bread.

For soup style shown, add 16 oz can of  Chicken broth, you can also add boiled chicken and ditalini to make a hearty meal out of this. Boil until mixture gets thicker and looks creamy. Serve with plenty of grated cheese on top and thick chunks of crusty bread and a few drizzles of olive oil.
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