I just looked at that title for a second time and thought, "Huh...that could be interpreted in a myriad of ways." Italian comfort as in a little bit of squeezing and a-huggin' from a saucy, beautiful individual? Italian comfort as in a strong little beverage? Nah. Italian comfort as in this food is so good, so quick, and so comforting that you'll want to take your socks off and run around the living room coffee table. And then go sit down and finish off a second bowl.
I was introduced to this beautifully simple meal by my dear, dear, dear friend, Donna. She had just been to Italy on a CUISINE TOUR. Say what?! Those exist? Add that to my bucket list, please. She pretty much wandered around Italy for roughly two weeks with a group of other like-minded people, staying in rustic old farmhouses on farms where they used the fresh produce to teach cooking classes to tourists. Folks, that is my idea of Heaven right there. Can it get any better? Her stories and the recipes she brought back made me certain that my one main purpose in this life is to go to Italy and eat.
That might be an over-exaggeration. Or not.
This is a quick meal - prepped and done within 10-15 minutes. And it is super-satisfying. And nourishing.
Go. Go now. Fix this meal, take that first bite, and run around the coffee table. And be happy. And pretend you are in a rustic farmhouse in Italy. All thanks to Donna.
Italian Beans & Kale
2 tablespoons of good extra-virgin olive oil*
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 ounce can of Great Northern Beans (do NOT drain)
salt & pepper to taste
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, rinsed and sliced in half
1 bunch kale, chopped**
juice of 1/2 a lemon
kalamata olives, optional
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
*I hardly ever measure the amount of olive oil; typically I use enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but you can go a little lighter or a little heavier if you'd like to suit your taste.
**I used 5 leaves of Lacinato Kale - a beautiful, hearty kale, but any type of kale will be good (take note - If you decide to use baby kale, it will not hold up to the sauce of this dish and will probably become too mushy for taste. I recommend using mature kale because it can hold up to the savory flavors and still maintain its crunch.)
1. Heat olive oil and minced garlic in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Saute until the garlic is aromatic and a nice golden color (about 2-3 minutes)
2. Add the entire can of Great Northern Beans - do NOT drain; add salt and pepper to taste
3. Saute the mixture for about 3-5 minutes, letting some of the liquid evaporate
4. Add in tomatoes, stirring well and allow the mixture to saute for another 2-4 minutes until the tomatoes are a little soft and juicy
5. Add kale and saute until the leaves are barely wilted
6. Remove from heat
7. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir
8. Plop on a few kalamata olives if you so choose and grate on Parmesan to taste
Enjoy! Have a blessed week, friends!
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