We all need to eat more leafy greens, right? They’re good for you, they taste good (usually,) and if all else fails, you can throw them in a smoothie. But this week’s produce delivery included something a little unusual: escarole. If you haven’t tried it yet, escarole is a slightly bitter leafy green that can be used in salads, but also holds up well when cooked. But instead of just making a salad, I thought I would share a more traditional approach and use it with pasta. We make this dish regularly with kale, so give that a try if you don’t feel like bringing home a monster head of escarole. Conveniently, escarole is easy to tear with little toddler hands, so get some help if you can. I washed the leaves and let Z tear up the shreds.
Pasta with Escarole, Sausage and White Beans
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, or 3 garlic scapes, finely diced
5 links of Italian sausage, hot or mild, or 1 lb bulk sausage
1 head of escarole, torn into bite-size pieces
1 can of cannellini beans
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ tablespoon of dried rosemary
S&P to taste
1 lb pasta of your choice, but my preference is rotini or rigatoni
Grated parmesan – use the good stuff!
Bring a pot of salted water up to a boil.
Sauté the onion in olive oil until is it soft, then add the sausage. Break up the sausage into smaller pieces using the back of your spoon. Once the sausage is cooked thoroughly, add the garlic and stir. If using garlic scapes, add them with the sausage. Add the rosemary and stir.
Cook the pasta per the instructions on the bag, reserving 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
Once the sausage is cooked, add the torn escarole and toss with tongs until it starts to wilt. This happens fast! Once the escarole is wilted down dramatically, add the strained and rinsed beans.
Mix thoroughly and add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the sauce with cooked pasta, adding the pasta water as needed to coat everything.
Top with parmesan and serve.