Many moons ago when I was single and purchased my first home I lived next door to a wonderful elderly Italian couple. Ernie and John B. welcomed me into the neighborhood and into their home with open arms. I quickly became part of their extended family and was blessed with many delicious Italian treats Ernie always liked to share.
Ernie was a great cook and I looked forward to her knock on my door to say she had something extra she wanted to me to try. Besides Ernie’s holiday pizzelles there was one treat I looked forward to eating. It was a simple cannellini bean and garlic dish made with olive oil and Italian seasonings. Simple but delicious. Probably the most important ingredient Ernie added was love. I have always said that food prepared with love is the best food in the world.
I have since moved from the old neighborhood and my extended Italian family has passed on. I have fond memories of Ernie and John and only recently remembered her cannellini and bean recipe. In honor of Ernie, I decide to create my own version of her dish. I souped up the cannellini and garlic by adding fresh chopped kale and red pepper slices for color. The creaminess of the beans, the sweetness of the red peppers and slight crunch of the kale ( I like it al dente in some recipes) created a ping pong of textures in my mouth. Throw in nice Italian seasonings and you have a fantastic side dish or meal.
I think Ernie would be proud of my version of her delicious beans and would give me a big hug for honoring her memory.
Cannellini and Kale
2 cups chopped kale
2 15oz cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic sliced
½ red pepper seeded and sliced thin
½ cup chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp salt
½ tbsp oregano
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan. Add kale and saute until slightly wilted (cook longer if you do not like kale al dente) for 3 – 5 minutes. Add garlic, sliced red pepper and seasonings. Stir then add chicken broth and beans. Stir to mix beans with kale and peppers. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.