Escarole is a sturdy green that can hold a lot of flavor. Braising it in a bacony tomato broth gives it plenty of tang and saltiness to balance its mild bitterness. If you have any Parmesan rinds on hand, add a small piece to the broth for richer flavor.
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Meanwhile, trim any browned leaves from the escarole and break all the leaves away from the core. Wash the leaves well and cut each into thirds, roughly into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Strain the cannellini over a 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough water to make 2 cups of broth; reserve the cannellini. (Tip: Use the empty can to add the water through the strainer; this will help loosen any stubborn beans left in the can.) Whisk the tomato paste into the broth.
When the bacon is browned, raise the heat to medium-high and fold in the escarole in batches, tossing each batch to coat in the fat until it wilts enough to add the remaining escarole. Once all of the escarole is incorporated, add the tomato-bean broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until the escarole is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cannellini and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and a lot of black pepper. Serve with crusty bread.
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