Avanzi di pane means leftover bread in Italian. At least, it does by Bing translate standards. Google translate called leftover bread pane avanzato which translates to advanced bread. Technically, I guess that’s reasonable, however, when I put avanzi di pane in Google, it came out as leftover bread.

The suffering I do for my art…

This all started because we had leftover bread. What a surprise, eh?!? The upside to baking is having all of this fabulous bread. The downside is having all of this fabulous bread. We do make our own breadcrumbs, but… there’s a limit there, too.

As luck would have it, I remembered a blog I had seen several years ago called Rustico Cooking. The blog belongs to a cooking school in NYC, and, while it hasn’t been updated in a couple of years, it does have some fun ideas – like sausage and escarole over cheesy bread cubes.

I started reading the recipe to Victor this morning and the first thing he said was it needs white beans. I thought it needed pancetta, as well. And some white wine… Part of the fun of cooking is looking at an idea and seeing how it can be changed… bouncing ideas back and forth… I don’t want to say improved because I’m not improving it – I’m changing it. Semantics, I know, but… I do think it’s different.

Here’s my take on it…

Avanzi di Pane con Scarola, Salsiccia e Formaggio

adapted from Rustico Cooking

for the sausage and escarole:

  • 8 oz hot Italian Sausage
  • 2 oz pancetta, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head escarole, chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup white wine, divided
  • pinch red chili flakes
  • S&P to taste

Remove sausage from casings and place in bowl. Add about 1/4 cup white wine and break up. Set aside.

In a large skillet with lid, saute pancetta until slightly crispy. Add sausage, chili pepper, and garlic and cook until sausage is cooked through.

Add remaining wine and cook for a minute to very slightly reduce. Stir in beans.

Add escarole and mix in well. Cover, reduce heat, and cook a few minutes until escarole begins to wilt.

Meanwhile, make the bread…

  • 4 cups leftover bread cubes
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • 4 oz fontina or other Italian cheese
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella
  • S&P, to taste

Drizzle bread with oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 375°F. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheeses over bread. Return to oven and bake until cheese melts – about 5 more minutes.

to assemble:

Divide cheesy bread among plates and top with sausage escarole.

Talk about something that could use a runny fried egg on! But even without the egg, this was good! Really simple, lots of flavor, and ready in about 15 minutes. It’s the ultimate fast food.

One thing to keep in mind is you do want some liquid in with the escarole and sausage – but you don’t want a lot. Keep your eye on it and if you have too much – keep it in the pan when you’re dishing it out.

The cheesy sourdough toast was the perfect foil for the slightly spicy, slightly bitter, and slightly creamy topping.

We shall make this one, again!