Orecchiette With Escarole, White Beans and Toasted Garlic 4.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Nourish Jan 7, 2016

This recipe is a perfect example of how healthful a pasta dinner can be. It is packed with vegetables, lean protein and healthful fat; it's flavored with garlic that’s cooked low and slow until it is toasted and mellowed, and with a hint of fresh sage. It calls for whole-grain pasta, which stands up beautifully to the deep flavors in the dish and is full of fiber and antioxidants, but feel free to use regular pasta if you prefer.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water
  • 12 ounces dried whole-grain orecchiette pasta (may substitute regular wheat orecchiette)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium head escarole, chopped (about 6 cups lightly packed; may substitute kale, spinach or arugula)
  • 6 medium vacuum-packed sun-dried tomatoes, plumped in hot water if very dry, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • One 15-ounce can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for optional garnish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the dried pasta; cook for 1 minute less than for al dente, according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta into a colander.

Meanwhile, combine the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, reduce the heat to low; cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is a light golden brown. Be careful not to let it burn.

Add the escarole; increase the heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring once or twice, until it has wilted. Stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, beans, sage, crushed red pepper flakes, the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper; cook, stirring, just until warmed through.

If the pasta is not yet done, remove the skillet from the heat and cover it to keep it warm. If the pasta is done, add 1/2 cup of its reserved cooking water and the 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano to the skillet, stirring to create a sauce; increase the heat to medium-high, then add the cooked pasta, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed some of the sauce.

If the mixture seems dry, add some or all of the remaining pasta cooking water, as needed.

Serve right away, sprinkled with more cheese, if desired.

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Recipe Source

From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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