Escarole & Beans

Escarole and beans is an Italian classic, except in my house it’s more like–‘shcarole and beans. Escarole, for those not familiar with it, is like something between romaine lettuce and Bok Choy…it’s really good, I promise.  This is the type of soup where you sop up the juices with a big ol’ chunk of crusty artisan bread and then go back for more. It’s all good though because it’s healthy, and we like healthy…sometimes.

Serves: ~6-8
Total time: ~30mins

Get yourself:

  • 2 Heads escarole
  • 2 Cans or 4 cups Cannellini beans (drained)
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic (If only using fresh, 5 cloves sliced thin)
  • 8 Cloves roasted garlic (If you haven’t roasted garlic yet, now might be the time)
  • 1 Can plum tomatoes
  • 1 C Chicken broth (Pacific Organic; it has great flavor)
  • 1 C Beef broth (Same brand as chicken)
  • 1 C reserved tomato juice
  • 1 C Water
  • .5 C Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5t Kosher salt
  • 1t Black pepper
  • 1 Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .5 Box Ditalini pasta
  • Pecorino Romano for the finish

The most laborious part of this dish is cleaning the escarole. Seriously, I don’t know what it is with this stuff but it’s like it gets sprayed with dirt before it’s shipped out. Fill your sink with cold water, discard discolored and broken leaves, and toss into the water. Swoosh it all around to loosen the dirt and rinse each leaf.

Fill a big ass pot with ~2″ water, break up your escarole and toss in

Bring flame to medium heat and cover

Escarole will wilt down…

…and shrink, a lot!

Drain in a colander and if you have a spinner then spin some of the water off

Prep your garlic

Don’t you dare skimp on the garlic…

and seriously, if you haven’t roasted garlic yet, you should…

the mellow roasted garlic flavor disperses throughout the broth and makes the dish 10x better

Add the red pepper, fresh, and mashed roasted garlic to the olive oil

Saute for a couple mins over medium heat

While the garlic does its thing…

Grab those tomatoes and drain the juice off into a bowl

Crush tomatoes by hand while dodging the juice that squirts out

Toss the escarole and tomatoes into the pot and stir

Sprinkle a little of that salt and pepper on

Add in all of your broth, tomato juice, and water

Break open your beans

If you’re a bean connoisseur and prefer fresh beans, well, that’s your problem…

The canned ones are perfect and probably even preferable in this dish

Drain the bean juice

Toss ’em in

Stir it up

Add the rest of the salt and pepper

Taste, say mmmmmmm…

Bring to a simmer for ~10 mins

Add 1/2 a box of Ditalini pasta directly to the soup

Raise flame to medium and let pasta cook for ~10mins or until al dente

Taste for salt and pepper

Don’t add garlic powder, please.

There she is ladies and gentlemen…

‘Scharole and beans

Top with freshly grated Pecorino Romano and cracked black pepper

Tear off a fat chunk of Italian bread

Sit at the table in a white v-neck tee and mangia!

In the words of my girl Lidia Bastianich…

“TUTTI A TAVOLA, A MANGIARE!”
“Everyone (come) to the table, to eat”

p.s. there’s plenty of leftovers if you’re only two people…

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4 responses to “Escarole & Beans

  1. that sounds delicious. I experimented a lot with bean soups this winter and only just discovered tossing greens in. yum.

  2. Great tip about cleaning the escarole, can’t tell you how painful it was to make the soup and then realize some of the grit was on the bottom of the pot!

  3. This is one of my fave winter comfort foods! Back when I was only cooking for two, such a tiny window of my life it seems 😉 I would put half of the soup into freezer containers before adding the pasta.

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