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Lifestyle and food blogger Dan Pelosi, aka "GrossyPelosi" on Instagram, loves to share recipes inspired by his Italian and Portuguese family. This is his grandfather Bimpy's quick and easy main dish or side.
"Somehow, there's always a pot of escarole and beans on the stovetop at Bimpy's house. This is likely because it was a favorite of my dear Uncle Phil, who lived with Bimpy. Uncle Phil passed away unexpectedly last year, and now when I miss him (which is often), I make escarole and beans in his honor." —Dan
Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and saute until the fennel seeds are fragrant and the garlic is soft and browned, then set aside.
Bring a separate pot of water to the boil and add a few large pinches of salt.
Drop in all the escarole and cook, stirring a few times, until bright green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Save 2 cups of the escarole water and set aside, then drain the escarole.
To the pot with the garlic mixture, add the escarole, beans (including the liquid), chicken stock and as much escarole water as you like (depending on how soupy you want this dish to be) and simmer until the beans are heated through.
Taste and adjust the seasonings, then serve per Bimpy's recommendation: "Over a nice chunk of crusty bread with Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and then say good-bye to your mother-in-law!"
Subs, Swaps and Additions:
—You can substitute kale or Swiss chard for the escarole.
—I often add sausage, and it's lovely. Cook the sausage in the pot, remove it and use the leftover grease to cook your fennel seeds and garlic, then follow the recipe from there. Add the sausage back in when you add the beans and broth.
—I love adding pasta, especially ditalini. I cook it separately until al dente, then add it to the pot.
—You can use dried beans instead of canned; it adds about 4 to 5 hours to the recipe, though.