Published November 1, 2005.
This classic recipe from the Italian countryside deserves a place on the American table. Could we streamline it without forfeiting flavor?
Pasta, hearty greens, and beans can be a sublime dish, but these humble ingredients traditionally take time to make the transition to a full-flavored entrée.
We wanted to retain the complex flavor of this classic Italian dish but make it an easy, quick, and satisfying midweek meal.
Hearty greens often require a multi-step process to tame their bitterness, so we restricted our choice to kale and collard greens; not-so-bitter varieties that require only a quick braise. This technique not only allowed us to cook the greens in a single batch but let us add the flavors of aromatic onions, garlic, spicy red pepper flakes, and chicken broth at the same time. Using a nutty whole wheat pasta added a pleasing complexity. Finally, we added some heavy-hitting flavors to compensate for the mild flavor of the canned beans: hearty pancetta, acidic tomatoes, briny olives, and earthy fontina and Parmesan cheese. The greens, beans, and sauce had to simmer with the pasta for just a few minutes to create a gutsy, harmonious flavor.list of recipes