Growing Greens for Tuscan Greens and Beans: Pan di Zucchero Chicory
Plant in rich soil with ample water…easy-to-grow ( just like lettuce). Spaced about 10-12 inches apart, this beautiful non-bitter chicory (“sugar loaf” in Italian) produces a light green, 1’ tall head similar to a romaine lettuce. Harvest the whole head, or if you can’t wait, use the leaves anytime before it heads and more leaves will grow back.
Use leaves fresh in salads or try it cooked…..
chop the chicory into coarse big pieces and boil for 30 seconds to a minute in a pot of water. remove, drain (reserving some water for later if you don’t have handy broth) and squeeze dry.
meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large cast-iron or other fry pan, add the garlic and sauté just until soft (not brown) add a pinch of salt, black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
add the greens and sauté until very tender (4-5 minutes).
add the beans with the broth and warm them through.
drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve with fresh grated pecorino or caprino romano (sheep or goat romano).
(for a non-vegetarian version, start by cooking a little bacon in the pan before the garlic and use beef or chicken broth).