We just received another five to six inches of snow early yesterday morning, and today the temperatures dropped to below freezing. I am so over winter at this point and am counting the days until spring arrives with warmer temperatures. I am looking forward to cleaning up the yard, planting flowers in our Italian ceramic pots, and getting our vegetable garden ready for plants. I am tired of having to wear winter boots, wool hats and gloves, and my warmest winter coat to take care of my chickens. Oh well, from checking the forecast daily, it looks like warmer weather is on its way!
On cold, dreary days, I crave Italian comfort food. There is nothing like having a big pot of meat sauce simmering on the stovetop all day, a big bowl of creamy polenta, and hearty bowls of soup chick full of vegetables and healthy grains to warm you up. This easy dish I am sharing today is also a family favorite when we are craving some comfort food on a cold, winter day. This is the type of Italian food I admire the most that is born from peasant cooking. Pairing a head of bitter greens, some white beans, and a little sausage, and you have a dish that is both filling and delicious. You can use canned beans in this dish, making it one that can be pulled together in mere minutes on a busy school night. I had cooked some tiny Umbrian beans in my Instant Pot earlier in the day that I used for this dish. To cook dried beans in an Instant Pot, simply add one cup of dried beans for four cups of stock and cook on manual for anywhere from twenty to twenty-five minutes depending on the size of your beans. My tiny beans from Spello were perfectly cooked in twenty minutes. However, cannellini beans would require an extra four or five minutes in the Instant Pot. The best part of cooking dried beans in this fashion is that you do not have to soak them overnight first!
I had some sliced Italian sausage cut into slices in my freezer that was leftover from a family pizza night that I used. However, I usually use fresh sausages for this dish and remove the meat from the casings before I cook it. My husband loves everything spicy, so I added a spoonful of Calabrian chili pesto into the mix. Still, you could leave this out if you do not like things spicy. Do serve this dish with a loaf of crusty Italian bread so that you can sop up the delicious sauce made as it cooks, as you won’t want to leave anything in your dish!
Deborah Mele 2020
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Pound Italian Sausage Meat Removed From Casings
- 1 Cup Chopped Onion
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Large Head Escarole, Chopped (About 10 Cups)
- 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
- 4 (15-ounce) Cans Cannellini Beans, Rinsed (Or 6 Cups Cooked Beans)
- 1 Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1 Tablespoon Calabrian Chili Paste
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- Working in batches, sauté sausage meat until cooked through, breaking up with two forks.
- Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl, leaving drippings in pot.
- Reduce heat to medium; then add onion to pot and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and escarole and sauté until wilted, about 4 minutes.
- Add wine and cook 4 minutes until slightly reduced.
- Add beans, stock, chili paste, and sausage and simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper then transfer to large bowl.
- Top with grated Parmesan, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 775Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 1388mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 44g