The Classics: Escarole Pie

I love escarole.  Mostly, the way my friend Delia (aka "Nonna" to my boys) prepares it.  She "massages" the leaves with lemon, salt & pepper.   She says to do the massaging (with clean hands,  of course) in the kitchen so that your guests don't see you up to your elbows in their dinner!  For some reason, her method makes the most refreshing, delicious simple salad.

Onto this recipe, which is more suitable for this non-Spring Spring that we're having.  Here the escarole becomes hearty, sweet and savory in a warm flaky pie.  Its our take on a classic Italian side dish that's perfect for any gathering, but especially brunch.  Don't be afraid of the anchovies, they melt into wonderful nutty-ness, plus they are a must-have ingredient in this pie.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 heads escarole
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp.
  • 3-4 anchovies
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Nutmeg, a pinch
  • 2 eggs(one egg is for egg wash)
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • Pie crust, prepared or pizza dough
  • Salt & pepper

Here's what you'll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In skillet over medium high heat, heat oil & anchovies, red pepper flakes and garlic.  Once anchovies are melted, add chopped escarole, salt,  pepper & nutmeg.  Once escarole is wilted, let cool.

2.  In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine cheeses, egg, olives & raisins.  Season with salt & pepper.

3.  Combine escarole with cheese mixture and pour into pie crust. Top with second crust, crimp and brush with egg wash.  Bake 35-40 minutes until golden.


xo & a pinch,



Saturday Morning Strata

                                  Artichoke, Goat Cheese Strata 

                                  Artichoke, Goat Cheese Strata 

As you know, Bon Appetit magazine's arrival to my mailbox is a joyous occasion.  But, YEARS ago, before I even knew I loved to cook this much, I was at someone’s house who served something called “goat cheese, artichoke and ham strata.” Later I learned it was a recipe from the one and only, Bon Appetit!  I started researching strata and realized I loved it because it was quiche on steroids and no "bad for you" crust! 

The ingredients are listed below, slightly altered based on years of making this recipe.

  •  2 cups milk   
  •  1/4 cup olive oil
  •  8 cups 1-inch cubes sourdough bread, crusts trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  •  6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 12 ounces ham, chopped
  • 3 6 1/2-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, halved lengthwise (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (packed) grated Fontina cheese
  • 1 cup (packed) grated Parmesan 

I never make this at the same time as I bake it.  I let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavors fall in love.   Also, when having overnight guests its so easy to pop this in the oven first thing in the morning while youre brewing coffee...aaah heavenly scents.  My favorite things. 

To prepare the strata:

Make sure you butter the pan before you start. I’ve had this served in a deep casserole dish or in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.  I prefer the latter.  The 13 x 9 rectangular glass allows you see all the golden goodness.

Mix the milk and oil in large bowl, then stir in the bread.  Set aside. It takes about 5 minutes for the liquid to absorb.

In a second bowl, combine cream, eggs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and garlic. Fold in goat cheese crumbles.   Note:  chilled goat cheese crumbles best, keep in the fridge until you're ready to use it. 

I put all my chopped herbies in a little bowl just to keep things neat.

To prepare the strata, place half of the soaked bread into your buttered 13x9 , then sprinkle with the chopped ham, the quartered artichoke hearts, herbs, and cheese.   Pour half of the egg mixture over the dish.   Repeat this process, creating a second layer.   Let sit for 15 minutes or covered overnight in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for one hour, until firm in center & the edges are browned. Remove from the oven and let it rest. 

(This strata is not served steaming hot. In fact,  room temperature is my preference, then again I’ll eat it for leftovers cold right out of the fridge!)

Perfect for any festive occasion and easy to pop in the oven in the morning after a late night.

Serve with your favorite bagel or some beautiful fresh fruit. This is truly one is one of my favorites! 

Enjoy, xo measure