Soup is on!
Oh, how I've been craving a steaming bowl of homemade soup lately. Anyone else? I'd say it must be stemming from the cool autumn air but to be honest, autumn has been flippin' hot here in NJ.
So it's not that.
I think it's just the anticipation of cooler weather combined with hunkering down that is upon all of us. It recently got below 60 the older day (ha!) and we had our first fireplace fire of the season. I put on my fleecy socks, filled my goblet of red wine and lounged by that rager for quite some time. As much as I love summer, the coziness of a warm family room on your couch under a blanket is pretty damn nice too.
Doesn't soup just fit right in to that scenario?
You bet your leaf-changing-trees it does!
So this soup was our first pot of the season. Escarole and beans. Or, skah-dole and beans, if you will. I hope you pronounce it like the ladder, it is just way more fun that way. Plus, if you're not Italian, it authenticates you for the day. :)
More than the name though, it is just an outstanding heart-warming meal. For me, it eludes comfort. Sadly, I'm the only one in this house who actually eats it though. My husband is anti-bean and my kids are anti-green. So unless they want chicken broth and noodles, they are better off with their own dinners.
For me, I'll take it all. The beans, the greens, the ladles of broth and a showering of Parmesan. One day they'll all come around, mark my words. I can hear it now, "Skah-dole and beans, skah-dole and beans, you're the best, Mom!"
But for today and the foreseeable future, I'll settle just on the tale end of that. :)
Escarole & Bean Soup
Adapted from: Food Network via Giada De Laurentiis
3 TBS olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 in strips
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 heads escarole, about 2 lbs, rinsed and chopped
Fresh cracked pepper
8 Cups low sodium chicken broth
2, 15.5 oz., cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1, 1.5 oz., chunk of Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb small tube pasta, cooked according to box directions
2 slices bacon, cooked and crispy, cut into strips, for topping
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, for topping
Crusty Italian bread, for dunking!
In a large dutch oven or large soup pot, heat olive oil, bacon and garlic over medium-low heat. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until bacon has browned a bit and garlic has softened.
Add the escarole and a hefty pinch or a few turns of cracked black pepper and sauté until wilted, about 5-7 minutes. (turning the escarole often)
Add chicken broth, beans, and Parmesan cheese. Combine well and turn flame to high and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low for it to simmer. Cover for 15 minutes.
In separate individual soup bowls, add pasta to each. Top with soup, then shower each with grated Parmesan, bacon strips and a pinch extra of cracked pepper.
Serve with crusty bread.