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Sides, Vegetables

Escarole with aged Parrano cheese and soft polenta

Escarole with aged Parrano cheese and soft polenta
Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Look at the wildly tangled leaves of curly endive, the furiously jagged edges of dandelion greens, the deep furls of escarole and right off you know there's something about them that's just begging to be tamed. It's a bit of ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes | Serves 6
  • 2 pounds escarole
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated aged Parrano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, for shaving

Step 1Wash the escarole leaves in two changes of water. Trim the stems. Set aside the very tender yellow-green core, reserving for salads. Dry and cut the leaves into strips about one-half inch wide.

Step 2In a heavy saucepan, combine the stock and cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Add three-fourths teaspoon salt, then whisk in the polenta. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the polenta is thick, soft and creamy. Stir in the Parrano cheese.

Step 3In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the red pepper. Add the escarole. You may need to allow half the escarole to wilt in the pan before adding the rest. When the leaves have begun to wilt, stir them carefully so that they become evenly mixed with the sauteed garlic. The greens are done when they are tender and wilted, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve the escarole on top of the polenta. Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Note: Parrano cheese is available at well-stocked markets. Fontina can be substituted.


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