May 2, 2013

Meat Free Week Recipe #4

Utica Greens with Beans
This recipe is a version of Utica Greens, an Italian specialty from Utica, in upstate New York.
In this version, however, we went vegetarian and substituted white beans for the pork product. 
I know, it shouldn't be legal.
It was still good, but don't tell the grandmas from Utica.... 
They will beat you down. 
Then make you eat it the right way.


4 heads of escarole, cleaned very well, and chopped (Don't worry about spinning because you are going to boil it anyway)
6 cloves of garlic, chopped (+2 tablespoons for marinade)
1/4 cup +- of chopped cherry peppers
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups of parmesan cheese
2 cups of seasoned breadcrumbs
olive oil
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

1. Marinate cannellini beans overnight in olive oil, 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper
2. Drain but don't rinse beans and set aside
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toss in escarole and cook until wilted. Drain and allow to cool.
4. Meanwhile, cook garlic and cherry peppers until the garlic is fragrant. Toss in the cannellini beans at the end to warm and allow flavors to meld. Do not over toss or you will destroy the beans.
5. Once the escarole is cool, ring out excess water by placing the escarole in a clean dishtowel and ringing. You will see that the escarole 1/4's in size
6. Mix the escarole well with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Add more crumbs and/or cheese if you like. 
7. Once this is well mixed, gently mix in the garlic, hot peppers and beans.
8. Bake in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
9. Serve warm as a side for any pasta dish, or as an appetizer to be shared amongst friends.

To see my original, and more traditional, version of Utica Greens, scroll to the bottom of my 'Drinkies and Snackies' page; it was one of the first recipes I blogged....because it truly is one of my favorite dishes to make and to eat!


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