Pasta Shells with Escarole, Sausage, and Cheese

Pasta Shells with Escarole, Sausage, and Cheese
Bon Appétit | March 2003

1 head of escarole, cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide ribbons (about 10 cups)
8 ounces medium pasta shells (about 3 1/2 cups)
4 teaspoons olive oil
10 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (about 3 links), casings removed
1 large red onion, cut through root end into thin wedges
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons thinly sliced drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese

Cook escarole ribbons in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer escarole to strainer and drain, keeping water boiling. Add pasta shells to boiling water; cook pasta shells until just tender, stirring occasionally. Ladle out 1/2 cup cooking water; reserve. Drain pasta shells; return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; sauté until cooked through, breaking up with fork, about 5 minutes. Add remaining oil, onion, and fennel seeds; sauté until onion is almost tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, escarole, and reserved 1/2 cup cooking water; simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add sausage mixture to pasta; toss. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with cheese.

Wilted Escarole Side Dish

Wilted Escarole Side Dish

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. chopped bacon
1/2 c chopped onion
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 head escarole, outer leaves and core removed, chopped into 2 pieces

In large saute pan or cast iron pot, saute bacon in olive oil until crisp, add onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook until tender. Add brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook 1 min, add escarole, stir and cook, covered, about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, serve with fresh lemon.
Note: you can also throw in a can of cannolini beans and chicken into this (right when you add the greens) and make a meal of it- Yum!