We had very odd weekend weather here in the Northeast this weekend. It was sunny and 60 degrees on Saturday and then it was 30 degrees and snowing on Sunday. It made you want to have ice cream in the park one day and then the next day crave warm comfort food.
Well, I chose one of my favorite comfort foods for Sunday and the cold weather and it was an Italian peasant dish that my mother used to make quite a lot when I was a child. It’s “escarole and beans” and you have probably tried it or have at least seen the dish on an Italian restaurant menu.
The escarole is wilted in chicken stock and garlic and cannellini beans are added with lots of grated cheese. It can be made a little spicy with the addition of red pepper. My mother used to make this dish quite often and on occasion added pork spareribs.
I found the most beautiful pork spareribs at my local butcher and this dish came to mind immediately. And the escarole I bought was beautiful and organic and I was all set. I had all the other ingredients I needed in my pantry at home.
It turned out to be a great Sunday meal and I served it with grilled olive bread (ciabatta would be perfect as well). I suggest you give this recipe a try on a cold day.
Escarole and Beans with Pork Spareribs – 4 servings
- 1 lb. pork spareribs (St Louis or country style)
- 1 quart of chicken stock (homemade or low sodium boxed)
- 1 medium yellow onion – diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic -minced
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil– (enough to cover the bottom of the pot).
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 lbs. of escarole or 2 medium heads (it will shrink)
- 2 (14 oz) cans of cannellini beans (I prefer low sodium) – drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste
- 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste (optional)
- Parmesan rind (optional)
In a large pot, coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and brown the spareribs. Add chopped onions and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste plus a pinch of salt and sauté for a minute or two.
Add the tomato paste and sauté or toast it for a minute in the pan before mixing it well with the garlic.
Add the broth, cheese rind (if using), garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat (partially covered) for 45 minutes to 1 hour to braise and tenderize the spareribs.
In the meantime, thoroughly wash the escarole (it can be very dirty and I wash it twice in water and baking soda than a good rinse). Cut the escarole into large pieces.
Add the escarole to the broth and cook until the escarole wilts to your liking (some like it with a little crunch some like it completely soft- your choice). Add another pinch of salt.
Stir in the beans (1 ½ cans whole and ½ can mashed) * you can mash by hand or in the food processor.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes
If extra liquid is needed, add a little more broth and let the flavors blend for a few minutes stovetop. Adjust seasonings.
Serve with a drizzle of more olive oil over each serving, add grated cheese and more red pepper flakes (optional).
In addition, serve this with a little grated cheese and grilled ciabatta bread to dunk in the broth.
Enjoy every bite…
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
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