Panecotto

Panecotto translates to “cooked bread,” and from the time I was a child, it was the dish always made the night after my grandmother, my mother, or, later, my mother-in-law made her Escarole e Fagioli. It’s made using leftover bread, some vegetables you might have on hand, and your leftover soup. We never wasted good food, and this was a delicious way to make another healthy meal with what you had on hand. Serve it as your entree or as a side dish to a frittata; either way, it’s wonderful and remains a favorite in my house.

If you want to make this dish and don’t have any leftover Escarole e Fagioli, substitute a 12-ounce can of drained white beans, a head of well-washed, chopped fresh escarole, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium Vidalia onion, cut into thick ribs and separated
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½—1 cup leftover cooked vegetables, such as broccoli, chard, cauliflower, or other (optional)
  • 4 cups Escarole e Fagioli
  • 4 1-inch slices leftover Italian bread, torn into pieces
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion ribs and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown. Add leftover cooked vegetables if using, the Escarole e Fagioli, and the torn bread. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes, until the bread is soft and the ingredients are heated through. Taste for seasoning.

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