"ITALIAN STYLE" GREENS
I am not Italian, but I did grow up in Rome, NY, and let me tell you, Romans can cook. Most of my childhood was filled with Italian food - sauces, greens, chicken riggies, tomato pie, pusties, halfmoons, and because of this a lot of my inspiration comes from Italian food.
Dishes that I cook and bake often reflect the memories of smells and happiness in my past. For me, there is one dish that is so reminiscent of my childhood family "get togethers," and that is "Italian" greens. Every family party had a large tray of greens from The Franklin Hotel in Rome, NY and let me tell you, in my humble opinion they are the best!
As I grew up and moved away, my family would ask what they could bring when they came to visit. My answer: GREENS from The Franklin! It was a "taste" of home and one I wanted to savor so I would portion them up, freeze, and pull out anytime I needed a reminder of home.
What is the star of this dish? ESCAROLE! Escarole is packed rich with nutrition such as dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. Not only is this dish fabulously delicious but it is also healthy. BONUS!
A few years back, I decided that I should start making them myself, why not? I searched the Internet high and low and stumbled on a page, whatscookinitalianstylecuisine, that had a classic recipe for this hometown staple. I searched the internet again to find the original recipe and give credit where credit is due and sure enough - it's still there! Over the years I have altered the original recipe to to suit our taste buds, however, the basis for my recipe came from this wonderful site so check it out, you will not be disappointed.
I hope that you enjoy this dish as much as we do!
From my HOME to yours!
ITALIAN GREENS RECIPE:
2-3 heads of fresh escarole
3 T. minced garlic
3 T. olive oil
1 C. pepper rings (or fresh pepper of choice - depending on
how spicy you want greens or if you want to use fresh peppers)
1-2 yellow Onion - diced (medium size)
1/2 C. chicken broth
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
*Optional Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs
First, chop and rinse escarole. In a large soup pot bring water to a boil, add greens and turn to medium heat for 6-10 minutes. Escarole has a tendency to taste bitter when raw so boiling it will remove that bitterness. NOTE: Greens float in water so be careful not to keep it at a roaring boil or you will "boil over" on your stove top.
While escarole is boiling, in a separate pan saute onion and peppers with oil until tender and translucent. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes more. TIP: I once received advice from my cousin that when you think you've added enough garlic, add more! The "magic" is in the garlic. I've used this tip and it works!
Next, strain greens in colander, return to soup pot and add the vegetables. Add chicken stock and cook on a low boil until broth is reduced and liquid is almost gone. I added too much liquid in the pictures on this post but they still tasted wonderful and as always hubby was happy!
Once liquid is reduced, transfer to baking dish and keep warm until serving.
Optional: If you feel like it and want to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top with breadcrumbs just pop it into the oven at 375 to brown them up before serving. Enjoy!