We've strayed a bit from the original recipe. (To find it, reach for Hazan's bible Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking). The beauty of it is, you simply can't go wrong. Pull from the abundant bitter greens that flood the market this time of year. Broccoli rabe, kale, mustard, dandelion and escarole all work beautifully. Round it out with milder greens like Savoy cabbage and spinach or chard. This takes no prep or planning and is the perfect late addition. Try it this year and you just might end up with a new tradition.
AUTUMN BITTER GREENS
4 TO 6 BUNCHES BITTER GREENS
2 TO 4 BUNCHES SPINACH OR CHARD
1 HEAD SAVOY CABBAGE
1/2 TABLESPOON OLIVE OIL
3-5 CLOVES OF GARLIC
RED PEPPER FLAKES, OPTIONAL
JUICE OF 1/2 LEMON, TO SERVE
Thoroughly wash greens and trim away any rough stems, keeping each variety separate. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in one variety of hearty greens and cook until wilted and soft, about 4 to 8 minutes and up to 12 minutes for the heartiest greens such as escarole and kale. Omit this step for spinach or any baby greens. As each variety finishes, drain well, coarsely chop and add to a large colander. A plate on top weighted with a can of tomatoes will help push out any additional water.
Cut the cabbage into quarters and cut out the stem. In a lidded pot, bring about 1" of unsalted water to a boil. Add the cabbage, cover and let steam for 4-6 minutes until cabbage is just tender. Remove, drain and coarsely chop.
In a large Dutch oven or wok, heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and stir taking care not to let it brown or burn. When garlic is soft, turn heat up to medium high. Add cooked greens and cabbage, a handful at a time stirring to combine and salting lightly as you go. You can add red pepper flakes too if you like heat. When the rest of the greens are piping hot, add spinach and any baby greens. Stir well until all are wilted and serve with a big squeeze of lemon.