Tour the Mediterranean in Olives & Oranges: Recipes & Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus & Beyond by Sara Jenkins & Mindy Fox, including Sweet Pumpkin and Rice Bean Soup with Crème Fraîche and Crispy Seeds; Maccheroni with White Beans, Mustard Greens, and Anchovy; and Grilled Mako Shark Skewers with Shaved Radish and Parsley Salad.
Makes 4 Servings
This is a combination of that Italian-American classic pasta fazool and the Pugliese tradition of pairing pasta with bitter greens. In place of maccheroni, you can use pennette, ziti, or orecchiette. Toasted Seasoned Bread Crumbs (page 155 of the book) sprinkled over the top make a nice addition.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add anchovies and chilies, remove pan from heat, and stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve anchovies.
Return pan to heat, add one third of greens, water, and 1 teaspoon salt, and increase heat to high. As soon as greens wilt and you have room in pan, add remaining greens, in 2 batches if necessary. When all greens have been added to pan and are wilted, add beans. Cook until greens are tender and liquid has reduced by half, about 12 minutes.
While greens are cooking, cook pasta until al dente.
Drain pasta, place in a large bowl, and toss immediately with remaining tablespoon butter, greens, and cheese. Season generously with pepper and more salt, if desired. Serve at once.
Makes 6 servings
The Tuscans are famed bean eaters, and so I defer to their knowledge when it comes to bean cookery. Soaking beans with aromatics (a head of garlic and herbs) and then cooking them in their soaking liquid results in an intensified flavor you can't achieve from a simple water soak-and-drain. Cooking time will depend on their age, so don't be surprised if they take a longer time; add more liquid if necessary.
When they're done, serve them traditionally as a side to pork. Or transform them into a soup by cooking them with aromatic vegetables, such as carrot, leek, and celery, and then pureeing them or by adding them to pureed Wilted Cooking Greens (see recipe below) and thinning the dish with some chicken stock.
Rinse beans, then place with garlic and herb sprig in a large saucepan and cover with water by 3 inches. Soak for 8 hours, or overnight.
Place saucepan over medium-low heat and bring liquid to a simmer; this will take about an hour. Cook at a bare simmer until beans are tender, about 45 minutes more. Stir in salt.
Serve with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt and pepper.
Makes 4 To 6 Servings
Sautéed spinach is one of the simplest and most comforting dishes one can make. To create a more interesting version, I use the same technique with a mix of greens with different flavors and textures. Depending on the season, you can choose mustard or dandelion greens, Swiss chard, chicory, beet or turnip greens, mizuna, amaranth, escarole, and/or broccoli raab, as well as, of course, spinach. Sometimes I brown a little slivered red onion with the garlic or use slivered fresh chili pepper instead of dried. Toasted sesame seeds sprinkled over the top are nice, and when I'm in an Asian mood, I drizzle the greens with soy sauce and lime juice instead of olive oil and lemon.
Wilted greens make a great accompaniment to Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder (page 318 of the book). or just about any main dish. They can also be pureed for a crostini topping or the basis for a quick soup or used to sauce short pasta such as penne or maccheroni (with toasted bread crumbs or a spoonful of creamy ricotta blended in).
Flavor Tip: Use a finer extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling and a less fancy oil for cooking.
Strip leaves of greens from ribs and stems; discard ribs and stems. Cut leaves into 3-inch ribbons, wash, and partially spin-dry; leave a little moisture for cooking.
Gently heat oil and garlic in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chili and cook until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
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This page created November 2008
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