SERVES 4 TO 6
This Old World recipe for scarola, or escarole, comes from Camille Guarino, a viewer of my television series. She, like me, hated this dish as a kid, but now is fond of it. Green, curly leaves of escarole stuffed with bread crumbs, anchovies, and raisins were a hallmark of my grandmother's cooking. Camille's recipe takes me back to Grandma's kitchen.
1/2 cup raisins
1 pound escarole
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
5 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
Soak the raisins in water to cover in a small bowl for 15 minutes.
Rinse and drain the escarole well, but do not detach the leaves from the core.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, half the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, oregano, basil, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Drain the raisins and add one fourth to the mixture. Reserve the remaining raisins.
Carefully spread the escarole leaves open to the center and stuff the filling in the middle. Close up the leaves and tie the escarole firmly with kitchen string so filling will not fall out.
Place the escarole bundles in a Dutch oven or slow cooker. Sprinkle on the remaining olive oil, garlic, and raisins. Add the water, cover the pot, and cook over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted and are soft.
Carefully remove the escarole to a cutting board and cut off the strings. Cut the bundle into pieces and serve with pan juices, and salt and pepper to taste.
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