Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long

Creamed Escarole
MARIO CARBONE: Creamed Escarole + Rib Roast Pizzaiola
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
print recipe
(10 rated)

I love this recipe because it takes the basics of creamed spinach and upgrades it in pretty much every way. Escarole takes the place of the traditional leafy greens and gets a creamy, cheesy boost from fontina and provolone. It also incorporates sweet caramelized onions for extra flavor.


  • Cheese sauce (makes about 1¼ quarts)

    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1½ tablespoons flour
    • 1 quart milk
    • 2 cups grated fontina cheese
    • 2 cups grated provolone cheese
    • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • Caramelized Balsamic Onions

    • 1 quart white onions, thickly sliced
    • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 cup brown chicken stock
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • Salt, to taste
  • Escarole

    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1¼ cup olive oil
    • Salt, to taste
    • 8 quarts escarole, washed and cut into large pieces
    • 4 cups cheese sauce (recipe above)
    • 2 cups caramelized onions (recipe above)
    • 2 cups grated fontina cheese
    • 1 cup cooked large diced thick-cut bacon


For the cheese sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, add the flour and start to combine, lower the heat and continue to cook. Whisk in the milk and bring the milk to a boil, whisking the entire time. Add the cheese and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated.

For the caramelized onions:

Combine all ingredients together and simmer until onions are very soft and liquid has thickened and has glazed the onions, about 45 minutes.

For the escarole:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Place the garlic and olive oil in a pan and cook until tender (do not brown).

3. Add the clean escarole and cook until wilted and tender. Season with salt and transfer to a pan lined with paper towel to drain as it cools.

4. Combine the cooked escarole, cheese sauce and caramelized onions in a mixing bowl. Transfer to a large casserole dish and top with the grated fontina.

5. Wrap in foil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese sauce begins to bubble.

6. Remove foil and place under a broiler until the cheese has begun to take color. Finish by topping with bacon and serve.

Related video

Closed Captioning
apply | reset x

Make rib roast Italian style, creamed escarole for the holidays

Play Video - 4:36