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Pasta with Beans & Escarole

If you are unable to find escarole, you can substitute another bitter green such as mustard greens or chicory (also known as curly endive). Core and roughly chop either vegetable before cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 head escarole, cored and trimmed, leaves cut into strips
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (14 oz.) white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh marjoram
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3/4 lb. small tubular pasta, such as ditali

Directions:

Make the sauce
In a large fry pan over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-low, add the pancetta and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the escarole and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, beans, marjoram and red pepper flakes and season with salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).