CNYEats A Taste of Utica Italian Greens

by Joanne on September 25, 2011

This is one of our local, all time favorites.  The city of Utica EVEN hosts a GREENS cooking contest. 

love utica greens

The Utica Greens Fest celebrates the special dish that is unique to Utica and showcases the various foods and items that shape our city and families. In addition to the special Greens Tent, which will house various styles of the popular dish, the family friendly event will also feature some of the area’s most popular restaurants, shops, and unique items, all in one location.

You will never find Italian Greens like you find in Utica UNLESS…. the cook/chef is from Utica.

taste book examiner

You will find the recipe for Greens on pages 137 (by Marge Graham), 138 (2 recipes on this page),by Toni Guzski and Janet Chanatry, 141 (2 recipes on this page as well), another one by Toni Guzski and Mario Scalzo, Jr., and page 142 by Joe in Phoenix.


Italian Greens – Similar to Georgio’s

  • 1 cup Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley (or 1 TBS fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp. each, onion and garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 chopped Vidalia onion
  • 2 head escarole – wash escarole really, really well
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 8 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 oz. thin sliced hard salami (for the Apple Crumbles MEATLESS greens, I used 15 oz. white cannellini beans)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • fresh parsley

Potatoes:  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Toss in a bag with 1/4 cup oil, parsley, garlic and onion powders and paprika.  Roast for 1/2 hour. Set aside.

Greens:   Sauté garlic and onion in 1 TBS olive oil.  Add the chopped escarole and cook through.  Add broth, salami (if using) or beans, crushed red pepper and potatoes.  Simmer until broth is reduced. About 45 minutes.

Combine the bread crumbs with 2 TBS oil and toast until brown.  Mix HALF with the greens.

Preheat oven again to 350 F.  Add Romano cheese to greens and place them into a greased baking pan.  Top with remaining bread crumbs.

Bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley.


Greens and Beans


  • 3 to 4 bunches of escarole
  • Olive oil to cover bottom of a pan
  • Garlic – as you like it to taste
  • 2 to 3, 15 oz. cans cannellini beans
  • water
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • garlic powder to taste

Clean, cut and boil until tender the escarole.  Change the water at least twice.

In a saucepan, add the oil and allow to heat. Add garlic at a simmer for 1 minute.  Add beans, juice and all, one can of water, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Drain the greens, mix into the bean mix.  If it’s too thick, add more water.  Serve with hot garlic bread or garlic pizza.   THAT’S A LOT OF GARLIC! *Might be a good recipe for Halloween. It’s sure to keep Dracula away.


Utica Greens

  • 1 large head escarole
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 Italian long hot peppers, seeded and julienned
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 cup broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Clean and rinse escarole twice.  Chop into large pieces.  Boil down for 5 – 6 minutes, until tender.

Place oil in  sauté pan and heat.  Add garlic and prosciutto and render for 2 or 3 minutes.  Don’t burn the garlic! Add seeded pepper and cook another minute.

Add escarole and all other ingredients to pan. Gradually add bread crumbs and cheese.  Toss gently.  Taste for final salt and pepper seasoning.  Place in a casserole, sprinkle a little of the bread crumbs and place under a broiler for 3 – 4 minutes.  Serve hot.

My Greens (Toni Guzki)

Very loosely written…

About 4 bunches of escarole.  Wash and cut up, boil until tender.  Be sure to change the water at least twice.  Drain, put into olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add greens, minced garlic and red hot pepper, and mix until well blended and hot.  Can use as side dish or just eat with Italian bread.  I make a sub out of unsliced bread.


Greens (Italian Style) – again, qty’s not listed so if you need some guidance, base the quantities on recipes above.

  • escarole
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • hot cherry peppers (seeded and cut into pieces)
  • seasoned bread crumbs
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Genoa hard salami, cut into bite size pieces (optional)
  • fresh hard crusted Italian bread

Clean the escarole and wash.  Add escarole to large pot of boiling salted water.  After water boils again, cook for 4 – 5 minutes.  Remove to drain in a colander. After cooled, squeeze out the water.

In a frying pan, add oil, enough to coat bottom.  Add garlic for one minute.

Add greens and cook 2 – 3 minutes.  Add pepper pieces and salami, if using.   Add a little pepper juice (vinegar) from bottle. 

Just before removing from heat, add bread crumbs and cheese. Serve with hot bread.


Italian Greens

  • 5 heads escarole, washed and drained
  • 1/2 lb. prosciutto, diced
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 1 TBS red hot sauce
  • BREAD CRUMB MIX:   1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 cup Asiago cheese, 2 TBS red pepper flakes

Sauté in a large pot the oil, bacon prosciutto and garlic.  When crisp, add escarole.  Keep adding as it steams down. Add lemon, honey and hot sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Can be done ahead of time to this point. Reheat, don’t drain.

Just before serving, add bread crumb mix and stir well.  Cheese will melt and liquid will be absorbed by crumbs.  Can be held for a short time. Adjust seasoning for hotter greens if desired.

Do you have a favorite recipe for greens?  How about a restaurant that serves the BEST greens?

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  • At 2011.09.25 18:09, Donna said:

    the best greens are either Georgio’s or Michael T’s!!! We love both 🙂

    • At 2011.09.25 18:13, Joanne said:

      YAY! Georgio’s!
      But Chesterfields meatless greens are perfect-O!

      • At 2011.09.26 08:00, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

        It’s so cool your city has a greens cooking contest. I’ve never heard of that! If we had any kind of cooking contest here, it wouldn’t be centered around a healthy item like greens, it would most likely be something involving cheese.

        • At 2011.09.26 09:35, Monet said:

          Cheese….potatoes…greens…I’m eating a mushroom omelet as I type…but as it good as it tastes, it pales in comparison to this! Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe. I hope you are having a joyful start to your week!

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