Escarole and Beans (with Tomatoes)

Growing up I could remember being so excited when I came home from school and saw a pot of escarole and beans on the stove.  For me it was such an amazing meal. My mom would serve it with crusty bread.  Occasionally she would serve it with a frittata also.  Sometimes it was potato and eggs, other times it was zucchini. I always took the leftovers to school for lunch.  I would get many stares from the kids.  They would question what I was eating and say it looked gross.  I knew better.  My lunch was better than their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread, which FYI to this day I have never eaten. Who can relate?  

Escarole and Beans

1 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

15 Garlic Whole Cloves.  

1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes

2 lbs. Escarole – Washed well

1 – 28 oz can of Whole Tomatoes – Crush with hands

2 – 15.5 oz Cans of Cannellini Beans – Drained

2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1 ½ tsp Salt

1 Rind (end) of the Pecorino Cheese (Optional)  

In a large saucepan, heat up the oil on a low flame.  Add the garlic.  Slowly cook the garlic until it is fork tender.  Remove from the pan and smash using a fork.  Return the garlic to the pan and add the crushed red pepper.  Sautee for about a minute or two, breaking the garlic up even more with a wooden spoon.  Add the escarole to the pot and let it start to wilt for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and salt.  Let it cook for about 10 minutes on a low to medium flame.  Then add the cannellini beans and the end of the cheese if you have it.  Simmer for another 30 minutes and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Pecorino.

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