January 21, 2012

Escarole and Cannelini Bean Soup

This is my version of my Nonna’s escarole soup.  It’s a wonderfully easy soup for a cold day and there are so many variations you can try.  It’s best to use the darker outer leaves of a head of escarole for this soup and you can use the lighter inner leaves for a great salad (see Escarole and Nut Salad).

Makes 2 Entrée Servings

1/2 cup spaghetti (broken in small pieces) (De Cecco is my favorite brand)
1/2 cup cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
5-6 outer leaves of escarole (washed well and cut in strips)
1/4 of a small yellow onion (sliced thinly)
1 clove garlic (minced or garlic pressed)
2 teaspoons olive oil
5 cups salty chicken stock (I used 5 cups filtered water and 1 1/2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base)

In a medium pot, heat olive oil over low/medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds (do not let the onions or garlic burn, lower heat if necessary). 

Add chicken stock (if using chicken base, add 5 cups of cold filtered water to the pot and then mix in the chicken base) and turn heat to medium.  Once the stock is simmering, add the pasta and cook for 12 minutes.  A few minutes before the pasta is done, add in escarole and beans.  Simmer for remaining pasta cooking time and then serve hot.


There are many ways to modify and add to this dish:
-Finish with extra virgin olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and grated Parmesan cheese
-Beat an egg and pour into hot soup, stirring constantly for an egg drop style
-Add cooked chicken, tofu or use your favorite type of bean

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