This was one of the first dishes on the menu when we opened, and it is still a family favorite at home. These vegetables were typically served in a loose broth under stuffed calamari, but they are great on their own or with simply grilled calamari or octopus, and delicious with sauteed or grilled shrimp.
- 1 1/2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 2 whole dried peperoncini
- 8 cups packed coarsely shredded escarole leaves, preferably the tough outer leaves, washed and drained
- 1 cup prepared tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Transfer the drained beans to a large Dutch oven. Pour in water to cover by 2 inches, add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water is simmering, pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Season the beans to taste with salt and discard the bay leaves.
Wipe the Dutch oven dry, and add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the garlic and peperoncini, and cook until they are sizzling and golden, about 2 minutes. Add the escarole, and cook and stir until it begins to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add beans, tomato sauce, and reserved cooking liquid. Simmer until thick but still saucy, about 7 to 8 minutes. Season with salt, and sprinkle with the chives.