Escarole soup is one of those winter classics you’ll want to have in your arsenal. It’s quick, filling, and inexpensive to prepare. This recipe uses canned beans, which means that from start to finish the soup hardly takes 35 minutes. You could use dried beans, but you’d have to soak them and simmer them in broth or water until cooked before adding them to the soup.
Both my mother’s and my father’s families make their own version of escarole soup. Soups with beans and greens are common throughout Italy, but escarole and cannelini beans are a classic combination. This is my version, which includes anchovies for depth and has less tomato than many recipes. The result is a soup that is almost light while still hearty enough to warm you on the coldest winter night.
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and gently smashed
Peperoncino, to taste
2 anchovy fillets (optional)
1 large head of escarole, cleaned and cut or torn into small pieces
2 tbs tomato paste
6 cups chicken broth
~1200 grams canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic, peperoncino, and anchovy fillets (if using). Break the anchovy down into the oil with a stirring spoon.
- Once the garlic is lightly browned and fragrant, add the well cleaned and cut escarole to the pot, along with a generous pinch of salt. Add a few drops of water to the pot, stir, and cover until the escarole shrinks by about half.
- Remove the lid and continue to saute the escarole, on medium high heat, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stir the tomato paste into the small amount of liquid at the bottom of the pan to dissolve.
- After making sure the beans are very well rinsed, add them to the escarole.
- Add the 6 cups of chicken broth, then top off with 2 cups of water.
- Let everything bubble away together until the beans are heated through, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Julia Terranova is a Brooklyn born, Italian-American student with a love of Rome and all things Italy. She spends her time cooking for friends and reading as many cookbooks as she can find.