Escarole, a delicious bitter green from the chicory family, is one of my favorite greens to have in soup. I love it either in the traditional Italian wedding soup or this version with white beans. The soup is so filling on its own even without meat. But cooked sausage or shredded chicken makes a great addition if you are so inclined. This soup is perfect to enjoy on a cozy day at home.
Make sure you wash the escarole very well. Separate the leaves and rinse them in a bowl of water. Use a salad spinner to get the last remainders of water off from the leaves. Slice with a knife or tear into rustic pieces and they are ready to be sautéed. An entire head of escarole may seem like too much, but the leaves do cook down.
Escarole and White Bean Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 head escarole (about 1 pound), washed, dried, and torn into pieces
8 cups chicken stock
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
1 small chunk Parmesan rind
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add escarole and sauté until wilted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock, Parmesan, beans, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer on medium low heat until escarole is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Yield: 8 servings.