It was a week of extravagance. I celebrated Thanksgiving three times—once with my parents, a few cousins and my only living aunt in Alabama on Wednesday. The next day I ate Thanksgiving lunch with Mom and Dad at their retirement facility in Florida before hopping in the car and arriving Atlanta just in time to celebrate again with David, Sharon, her husband Anthony and his incredibly hospitable, seriously foodie family.
And Thursday night was just the start of the weekend long food and wine extravaganza as we celebrated Anthony’s ordination into the Presbyterian Church. I’m back home now and grateful for all the joyful kitchen and table time with family, but after days of merriment (and all that is to come in December) I’m feeling the need to eat simply, cleanly.
To perk up my lethargic body I’m making zesty Braised Escarole with Cannellini Beans and Mushrooms. It’s quick, one-dish, and meatless and with the escarole cooked right in, it’s like salad and main course in one.
Rather than serve it over pasta, I’m spooning it over thick slabs of toasted whole-grain bread. And after all the cooking last week I’m still a little kitchen weary today, so I’m happy for the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
Braised Escarole with Cannellini Beans and Mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) cannellini beans, drained
1 head escarole, washed, cored, and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1 loaf European-style whole grain bread, cut into 12 thick slices
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or soup kettle. Add mushrooms; sauté until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms start to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about a minute longer. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmer until thickened to tomato sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. Stir in beans and escarole; continue to cook until escarole wilts and gets tender, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in cheese.
Meanwhile toast bread and top with a portion of sauce, sprinkle with additional cheese and serve immediately.