Using escarole as your greens in this means that this recipes comes together in about five minutes — that’s how fast the escarole cooks. The salad green also has a nice, soft bitterness and plays well with the beans, making them taste almost sweet. Don’t drain your beans! The liquid provides a creamy sauce. This is absolutely a favorite in our household — it is equally comfortable alongside pan-fried fish, a grilled steak or a hearty stew. If you were to add some sliced grilled sausage to it, you’d make this side into a main course — or just double up on amounts, warm up some crusty bread, and make it a vegetarian main course. Even small children wanted more when we demoed this at US Botanic Garden in October 2014 so we ramped it up again for Brookside in November 2014.
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t pepper
¼ t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 heads escarole, rough-cut into 2- 3-inch pieces
1 can white cannellini beans
2 T shredded Parmesan
In a large pot heat oil, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; do not let the garlic brown. Add escarole and cook down slightly. Add beans and bean liquid; turn up heat and cook until liquid begins to take on a syrupy look and beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.