Escarole is one of those interesting greens that I have yet to cook. It is a member of the endive family but is less bitter than its cousins. Mark Bittman blogged about using it in a rice soup here and I thought it was high time I tried it out for myself.
I followed Bittman’s lead and used some pancetta since he generally is right about flavor pairings. Adding some red onion and garlic and tossing it with pasta made it a divine lunch: creamy almost buttery escarole with slow cooked garlic, onion and pancetta, what was not to love!
This is my entry for Presto Pasta Night, being hosted this week by Katie of Thyme for Cooking. If you are interested in participating you can send your entries to her at thyme2 (dot) kate (at) gmail (dot) com and a cc to Ruth at ruth (at)4everykitchen (dot) com. Even if you don’t participate you need to check out Katie’s entry of Shrimp in Tomato and Green Garlic Sauce on Angel Hair Pasta; My Hoopoe. Not only does that dish look amazing but she has the sweetest story about a gorgeous little bird that eats the bad caterpillars attacking her garden, great blog reading!
Penne with Escarole and Pancetta
1/4 lb penne pasta
1 head escarole, washed and cut in ribbons
1 1/2 tablespoons pancetta, minced
2 tablespoons red onion
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
red pepper flakes
Saute panetta on medium high heat until it begins to give up its fat. Add olive oil and onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until onion and garlic begin to soften but not burn. Add escarole and allow to wilt for 2 minutes and then begin to mix all together. Remove from heat once full wilted. Meanwhile cook penne according to directions. Drain and drizzle olive oil on pasta, add escarole mixture and toss well. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.