Cacio e Pepe White Beans & Escarole

These satisfying beans are inspired by cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) pasta, a classic Roman dish where black pepper and Pecorino cheese combine with pasta cooking water to make a creamy, punchy sauce. Here, the creaminess of the beans stands in for pasta, and escarole makes it a meal. Escarole is milder than other winter greens like kale or collards, and has a crisp, hearty texture and sweet flavor that is delicious in this dish—but feel free to substitute another winter green of your choice.

a recipe photo of the Cacio e Pepe White Beans & Escarole
Photo: Photographer: Brittany Conerly
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 15 mins


  • 1 pound dried small to medium white beans, soaked overnight and drained (see Note)

  • 4 ½ cups unsalted chicken broth

  • 8 large cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons ground pepper, plus more to taste, divided

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 Parmesan rind (Optional)

  • 1 small to medium head escarole (12-15 ounces), chopped

  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Combine drained beans, broth, garlic, lemon juice, oil, 2 teaspoons pepper, salt and Parmesan rind (if using) in a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on High until the beans are very tender, about 4 hours. (Bean cooking times vary substantially according to factors like age and size; 4 hours will yield very tender, almost-falling-apart beans. If you prefer firmer beans, start checking for doneness around 3 hours.)

  2. Reduce heat to Low and stir escarole into the beans. Cover and cook until the escarole is wilted, about 10 minutes more. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind (if using). Stir in pecorino and the remaining 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir the beans vigorously and smash some of them against the side of the cooker with a fork or a spatula to create a creamy texture. Serve in bowls topped with additional pecorino and pepper, if desired.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 2 days.


6- to 8-quart slow cooker


We recommend a small or medium dried white bean such as navy beans or great northern beans to make this recipe. Cannellini beans, while delicious, contain a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal distress if not properly cooked. Read more about how to safely cook dried cannellini beans and kidney beans.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

300 Calories
8g Fat
40g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size 1 cup
Calories 300
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 16g 57%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 18g 36%
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Vitamin A 1399IU 28%
Vitamin C 6mg 7%
Folate 276mcg 69%
Vitamin K 148mcg 123%
Sodium 448mg 19%
Calcium 141mg 11%
Iron 5mg 28%
Magnesium 102mg 24%
Potassium 918mg 20%
Zinc 2mg 18%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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