Friday, May 27, 2011

Italian Greens

Today we're making Italian Greens.

Now, it seems like every Italian has their own special way of making greens. I make mine the way my aunt Vera made hers, and her mother before her. When my Grandfather and his mother came to America, they didn't bring much with them. But Josephina DID have lots of recipes in her head and her chickens....and you can do alot with those 2 things, right?

So, of course, since it's ME cooking, we start with garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. I think this was about 6 cloves. Smashed, and minced, and then thrown into a hot skillet with some olive oil. saute till fragrant...and if you cook with garlic, you know what I mean by FRAGRANT! Again, don't burn it.

On to the Green part of the equation. Escarole. plain and simple. Lettuce. yup, lettuce. This was a HUGE head of escarole...probably 1 1/2 lbs. Put some cold water in your clean sink...chop the escarole up and throw it in the water. Swish it around a bit and let it sit. All the dirt and crud will fall to the bottom and you'll have nice clean greens. I forgot to do this one time with Kale...chopped it up, added it to my pasta and went to town eating it..only I couldn't really eat it cuz it was like someone sprinkled sand on my food instead of salt. gritty and horrible! So this is a necessary step.

So when you've sauteed your garlic for a bit...not burning it!...throw in your greens. This was a big load, so I had to add them in 2 batches, letting the first batch wilt down some. stir them around a bit...put a cover on them to help them wilt down. The water from the greens will steam them.

This is after probably 10-15 mins. sorry Im not more precise. Guess I need to learn to be that way...let them cook on a low heat till wilted and soft. I don't like my greens "slimy" or "mushy"...I like them to have some "bite" to them. I cooked these about 15 mins more while I cooked some pasta. I tasted them...added some S&P to taste...but they were a little bitter. So I added about a tablespoon of vinegar. All I had was white vinegar, so I threw that in there...stirring and letting it cook for a few minutes more. The vinegar did the trick. Some chemist could probably tell why that is...a chemist I aint. I don't know why it works,..I just know it works. Don't question it. :)

This is how I served mine today...over some hot pasta. I didn't have any Parmesan cheese...THE HORRORS OF IT ALL! I threw in a couple spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, adding the greens on top. YUM! But the way we usually eat greens? in a bowl with slices of warm Italian bread. Drizzle a little more GOOD Olive oil over the top..maybe a sprinkle of husband loves greens with hot peppers in them too, so we do that alot. But the bread is a must, to sop up all the goodness in the bottom of the bowl. :)


  1. Hi Beth! Long time no read :)

    I did not know you could cook lettuce! I'm going to have to try it, looks yummy.

  2. Try it'll love em.