I recently fell in love…with escarole. It is one of those odd vegetables that people do not know what to do with. Fresh, it looks like lettuce, but biting into it raw will bring a nasty grimace to your face! It is part of the chicory family, so bitter is its calling card. But saute or wilt it as I did here and you transform it into instant deliciousness.
Apparently, making a soup with white beans is one of the most traditional ways Italians make escarole (scarole) and that is on my list to try. But this night I wanted some comfort food so penne it was! I have to admit that penne may have not been the best shape to capture the ribbons of escarole; farfalle might have been better. But it tasted great just the same.
I will be sending this over to Three Cookies for Presto Pasta Night. If you want to participate, send your entry to easilygoodeats(at) gmail(dot)com and cc ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by Thursday, April 21. Check back for the roundup April 22
Penne Pasta with Escarole and Bacon
1/2 lb penne pasta
1 head escarole, washed and cut in ribbons
5-6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 slices bacon, diced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook penne. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Meanwhile, in large skillet cook bacon over medium high heat in 2 tablespoons olive oil until it browns. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes just until it begins to lightly brown. Add escarole and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Toss with pasta and serve.
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