Bimpy’s Escarole & Beans

Somehow, there’s always a pot of escarole and beans on the stovetop at Bimpy’s house. This is likely because it was a favorite of my dear Uncle Phil who lived with Bimpy. Uncle Phil passed away unexpectedly last year, and now when I miss him (which is often), I make escarole and beans in his honor. You would have loved Uncle Phil, and I know you’ll love his favorite escarole and beans. 

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Bimpy’s Escarole & Beans

  • Author: Dan Pelosi

What You’ll Need

Units Scale
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large heads escarole, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Crusty bread and freshly grated
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

What You’ll Do

1. Bring a large Dutch oven filled with salted water to a boil. Add the escarole and cook until bright green and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water, then drain the escarole.

2. Wipe out the Dutch oven, then add the olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, fennel seeds, pepper flakes, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic and fennel are fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the escarole and beans (including their liquid), then add the chicken broth. Give it a stir, then add as much reserved escarole water as you like (depending how soupy you want your dish).

3. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning before serving with crusty bread and lots of Parmesan.

Make it step-by-step with me below!

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot. Sauté 6 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, red pepper, salt and pepper until nice and fragrant.

This should smell amazing. If it doesn’t, you absolutely did something wrong.

2. Rough chop your 2 heads of escarole.

3. Drop escarole in a pot of salted boiling water and boil until bright green, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Save 2 cups of escarole water and set aside.

5. Strain escarole. 

6. Add strained escarole to pot with oil & garlic mix.

7. Add all 3 cans of beans (including liquid, do not rinse beans!) to pot with escarole.

8. Add 6 cups of chicken stock and as much escarole water as you like (use more or less depending on how soupy you want this dish to be) and simmer until beans are heated through.

9. Taste and adjust seasonings.

10. Serve per Bimpy’s recommendation: “Over a nice chunk of crusty bread with parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and then say good-bye to your mother-in-law!”