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Creamed Escarole

MARIO CARBONE: Creamed Escarole + Rib Roast Pizzaiola
MARIO CARBONE: Creamed Escarole + Rib Roast PizzaiolaNathan Congleton / TODAY


Cheese sauce (makes about 1¼ quarts)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 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
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 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

Chef notes

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.


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:


Preheat oven to 400°F.


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


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.


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.


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


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