Monday, January 31, 2005


Pasta with Escarole and White Beans

I went to the Hollywood Farmers market yesterday like I do every Sunday, only this time, I remembered to bring my camera so I could get some pictures to share with you all. With the huge array of fresh fruits and produce available, you would hardly know it’s January. The strawberries were still a little bland, and the tomatoes were just a bit hard, but it was still great to see them in all their vivid glory. I was especially impressed with the purple cauliflower (though, I didn't buy any). What I did get was some beautiful escarole and came home and made this. It was perfect for a chilly night. Enjoy!

1 pound Penne pasta
6 cups escarole leaves, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 oz. pancetta bacon, sliced thick, cooked and fat reserved
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, until al dente.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then place the escarole in a strainer in the sink, then drain the pasta over it.Pour drained pasta and escarole back into the pot.
Meanwhile In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil (or bacon fat) over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic until translucent, about five minutes. Add the pasta water and beans to the sauce and allow to thicken slightly.
Add the beans and the red pepper flakes to the pasta and toss well. (If you used the bacon, add that back in now too) Season with the cheese and serve immediately.
Season with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Serves four to six


"A few years ago, Paul Rozin, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, and Claude Fischler,

a French sociologist, began collaborating on a series of cross-cultural surveys of food attitudes.
They found that of the four populations surveyed (the U.S., France, Flemish Belgium and Japan),
Americans associated food with health the most and pleasure the least. Asked what comes to
mind upon hearing the phrase ''chocolate cake,'' Americans were more apt to say ''guilt,'' while
the French said ''celebration''; ''heavy cream'' elicited ''unhealthy'' from Americans, ''whipped''
from the French. The researchers found that Americans worry more about food and derive less
pleasure from eating than people in any other nation they surveyed." - NY Times

Escarole recipe sounds good! I will try it. I found your site
while looking up escrole. My father-in-law used to grow escarole and bring it to me to cook with white beans, oil and garlic, but the variety I find in the stores is different. The one he grew had large tall leaves, and did not grow so much in a head. I can't seem to find that type anywhere in my area. I wondered if you have seen it.
It's possible that the escarole they sell in your market is just younger. The older it gets, the taller and more bitter. Or it could just be a diffrent variety. Let me know how the recipe works for you, and thanks for reading!
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