Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick got hooked on escarole and white beans after having some at an Italian deli off the turnpike in New Jersey. There's nothing new about the combination, but as with many things, until you see it you don't think of making it at home. She knew it wouldn't be hard to do; the trick is to blanch the escarole before mixing it with the beans.
As much as she liked the dish, though, her husband did not -- until she added sausage. Of course, that moves it away from a "healthful" designation, according to The Post's guidelines.
To make this dish without sausage, it's best to add an extra tablespoon of oil when cooking the garlic. For ease of preparation, use bagged, pre-cut escarole.
Servings: 4 - 6
- Salt, for the boiling water and as needed
- 15 ounces pre-cut bagged escarole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces sweet italian sausage, casings discarded
- 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 3/4 cups cooked cannellini beans (or one 15-ounce can; rinse and drain if using canned)
- 1/2 cup water
- Freshly ground black pepper
Lay a clean dish towel on the work surface. Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the escarole and blanch for 30 seconds. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the escarole to the dish towel; let it drain for 15 to 20 minutes, until cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or braising pan over medium heat. Add the sausage, breaking it into small chunks as you go. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sausage loses its raw look and starts to brown; it will not be cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to the paper-towel-lined plate.
Reduce the heat to low; add the garlic and cook for 4 minutes, until it softens.
While the garlic is cooking, squeeze any excess water out of the escarole, then add the escarole to the skillet. Increase the heat to medium; cook for 3 minutes, stirring, then add the cooked, drained sausage to the skillet, crumbling it as you go. Add the beans and stir to combine.
Add the water and cover; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then uncover. If the mixture is soupy, increase the heat to high and cook until the excess liquid has evaporated. Season with pepper to taste; add salt as needed.
Serve hot or at room temperature, in shallow bowls.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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