White Bean and Escarole Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces pancetta or prosciutto, diced
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 head escarole, (about 1 pound) trimmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
- Two 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped canned whole tomatoes
- 5 cups homemade or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Serving suggestions:
- Drizzle each serving with extra-virgin olive oil and/or sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and serve with a good crusty bread.
In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat, add the pancetta, and saute for about 5 minutes. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion and saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, and pepper flakes; saute for 3 minutes more. Add the escarole, stirring until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Add the beans, tomato, broth, and salt; bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the reserved pancetta and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the oil and/or cheese and the crusty bread.
Cook's note: Swiss chard is a welcome substitute for escarole.
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