Proietti’s in Webster has been serving up classic Italian comfort food since the 60’s. Recreate Proietti’s Signature Greens and Beans, using escarole, cannellini beans, garlic and a easy French Sauce in your own kitchen!
You know I love finding and recreating restaurant recipes. I’ve spent quite a bit of time searching old newspaper clippings, cookbooks and cooking forums for long last local dishes. Usually, the source of the recipes are ambiguous, it is rare to actually find a recipe right on a restaurant’s website, but that is exactly where I found this recipe for Proietti’s Greens and Beans!
If you are from the Rochester New York area Proietti’s needs no introduction, the Italian restaurant is an institution in our area. Proietti’s has been serving up classic Italian comfort food since the ’60s, and has stood the test of time by offering friendly service, a comfortable atmosphere, and of course amazing food!
Proietti’s owner, Anthony “Whitey” Proietti got started in foodservice in Downtown Rochester working in a pizzeria. In 1965, after just having graduated from high school, Whitey and his father bought a pizzeria on Goodman Street. The business grew and in 1969, Whitey decided to open a second location.
Construction of the Webster Plaza caught Whitey’s attention and intrigued by the new shopping plaza, Whitey choose the plaza on Hard Road for his second location.
Originally the Webster Proietti’s location was a popular pizzeria and bar. But, around 1980 Whitey decided to pivot into casual fine dining, and the pizzeria/bar was closed for three months for renovations and updates, reopening as the Italian restaurant we all know and love today.
For the past 18 years, Proietti has shared his knowledge and love of cooking with the community and offers cooking classes for customers who have fallen in love with his food and want to re-create it in the convenience of their own home. A handful of recipes have also been generously shared on the Proietti’s website, which you should definitely check out, and is where I found this recipe!
Of course, everything tastes better when someone else cooks it, so I highly recommend paying a visit to the restaurant.
Proietti’s Greens and Beans
Greens and Beans aren’t necessarily an Upstate New York Regional dish, this traditional Italian dish is served across the country, although, there are regional iterations, such as Central New York’s Utica Greens, which have a healthy spicy kick thanks to cherry peppers. It seems every establishment has its own take on this classic dish, but very few are gracious enough to actually share the recipe.
The funny thing about greens and beans is that you want a flavorful sauce, but you don’t want your greens and beans sitting in a puddle of liquid.
The French Sauce that is used in Proietti’s recipe is very similar to Julia Child’s Beurre Blanc, but is made in a restaurant quantity. It is a simple sauce of white wine, butter, garlic, lemon, and chicken base.
I have not played around with the sauce recipe to try to scale it back, but I am sure it is possible. But if you are not in the mood for reducing the recipe, you can use it anywhere you’d like to drizzle food with better-tasting butter. Try it on roasted or steamed vegetables, on shrimp or fish, on chicken (hello, chicken french!)
Cooking Tips for Greens and Beans:
- Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base is the perfect chicken base for the french sauce recipe!
- White beans are the traditional choice, with Cannellini or Great Northern Beans being the best choices. They carry the flavors well without competing and are inexpensive.
- Don’t add the beans to the mixture until the stems of your greens are tender and the greens have reached the degree of doneness you prefer.
- When you do add the beans, you only need to continue cooking long enough to heat the beans through.
- Beans and greens are also delicious the next day if you happen to have leftovers, and reheat beautifully.
- 2 Heads of Escarole
- 8 oz Butter
- 4 Cloves Chopped Garlic
- 2 tablespoons of 100% Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 small can Cannellini Beans (save juice)
- ½ cup White Wine
- Juice of ¼ Lemon
- 2 oz Butter
- 1 teaspoon Chicken Base
For the French Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over high heat boiling rapidly. Adjust taste if necessary.
For the Greens and Beans:
- Cut and wash escarole discarding coarse leaves.
- In a medium size frying pan, over medium heat, combine olive oil, butter and garlic. Cook softly for 2-3 minutes being sure not to brown the garlic.
- Add the escarole and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the escarole is limp.
- Add the beans, liquid included and 1 ounce of french sauce.
- Cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Transfer to serving bowls with a slotted spoon, and serve with Italian bread.
This dish is traditionally meatless, but may be served with Italian sausage added.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 385 Total Fat: 33g Saturated Fat: 19g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 77mg Sodium: 702mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 4g Protein: 5g