Escarole with Bean Soup

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Escarole is a somewhat bitter green that some people use in salads, but is at its best in a pot of soup such as this, or with tortellini and broth. It isn't always easy to find escarole; but I have found that it grows quite well in the Northwest climate. Sow in late summer to harvest through most of the winter and in late spring for summer harvest.

Served over a small pasta such as ditalini, this soup is a complete meal. Using vegetable stock to create a more soupy mix is optional.

Ingredients

Preparation

The secret of this soup (or stew if made without the broth) is in the layering of ingredients. Place escarole at bottom of pan and layer up as follows. Place potatoes, then onions on top of that. Pour on beans and tomatoes. Sprinkle on salt and pepper now, or later. Cover the pot and, over low heat, steam the vegetables until the pile has reduced by at least half. Stir and recover until escarole is thoroughly wilted.

If you like a creamier texture, remove some of the cooked beans and potatoes and purée with stock.

Just before serving, slash with lemon juice and sprinkle on grated Romano or Parmesan cheese. Serve with a crusty, country-type bread and extra-virgin olive oil.

Recipe by Marie Donadio, PCC Cooks instructor Inspired by Anna Riccabene

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More about: white beans

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