By Dianne Bunis

The holiday season brings families together, but also great recipes that are passed down through generations.

This classic Italian dish of greens and beans is contributed by Regina Montreal, an amazing cook and my cousin.

Escarole with tender cannellini beans and sausage is sautéed with bold garlic for a savory dinner side dish. Leftovers can be enjoyed as a delicious soup by adding broth and cooked pastina. Buon appetito!

Garlic Sautéed escarole with cannellini beans and sausage

Serves 6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 large bunches escarole, thick stems removed, cut into strips

2 links of Italian sausage, remove from casing

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Once boiling, blanch escarole by allowing to boil for 2-3 minutes until bright colored.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add and brown sausage. Add garlic and sauté until garlic is lightly golden, 2 minutes. Toss in escarole and stir to coat with oil, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until tender. Add beans, stir to combine and cook another 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Regina Montreal lives in central New York with her husband Leonard, and daughters Marisa, Alana and Mia.