Many Northern or Central New Jersey Italian-Americans can trace their roots to the province of Naples and the surrounding area. This would explain why I didn't grow up eating this very "New Jersey Italian" dish.

My grandparents were from regions further south. However over the years many people growing up in Italian households in New Jersey were raised on escarole and beans and have shared their recipe with me.

Pretty simple, one pan meal. It's usually made with veal meatballs or the regular pork, beef, veal mix meatball. But since I have a few members of the family who don't like beef and are anti-veal, I have adapted this recipe to use pre-made store bought turkey meatballs. Saves on fat content and arguing about veal! Here goes:

  • Sautee 2 minced garlic cloves in four tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan.
  • Add one head of escarole, rinsed and chopped.
  • Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then pour in a half cup of white wine. Let simmer and reduce for 3 minutes.
  • Add one 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes and one can of cannellini beans.
  • Add salt and red pepper flake and mix together cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Add meatballs, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes to heat meatballs through.
  • Pour onto large serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese.
  • Makes approximately four servings.

Buon appetito!

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