Recipes

Scarola Embottinata (Stuffed Escarole)

Pasquino

Queen Italian Restaurant - Brooklyn, NY

Let's be frank: these adorable, flavor-packed escarole bundles were time-consuming to make. But the praise we won at a holiday party we brought them to made the effort worthwhile. Better yet, they can be made ahead. Just sauté them in the sauce at the last minute. The Vitiello brothers brought them to Ann Nurse's annual Kitchen Brunch extravaganza at the Beard House in May 2004.

Ingredients

Stuffing:
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, crust removed, sliced into small squares
  • 2 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 anchovies, minced
  • 1 clove small garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons black raisins
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 5 Gaeta olives, pitted and quartered
  • 3 green Sicilian olives, pitted and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 heads escarole
Sauce:
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Small handful Sicilian olives, pitted and chopped
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Method

To make the stuffing, place the bread cubes, eggs, oil, cheese, anchovies, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix together until it forms a smooth amalgam. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the escarole. Combine. Refrigerate the stuffing for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the escarole thoroughly. Select 20 to 25 medium-sized leaves and steam them for a few minutes until they are pliable. Place them on a clean work surface, opened up completely. Save the rest of the escarole for another use. Cut the tough stems off the leaves.

Place a thumb-sized cylinder of stuffing at the end of each leaf. Fold in the edges of the leaf around the stuffing, then roll as you would for a blintz. Place the packets snugly in a sauté pan, seam side down.

To make the sauce, in a small sauté pan, sauté the garlic in the oil over low heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the stock or water and the remaining ingredients. Cook for 30 seconds or so, then add the stuffed escarole to the pan, being sure to coat each bundle with the sauce. Sauté the escarole, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, checking periodically to make sure the bundles are not sticking to the pan.

Yield

22 escarole packets