White bean and escarole soup

  • Preparation Time20 mins
  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
2 tbsp olive oil
55g pancetta or prosciutto cut into 0.5cm cubes
75g diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
5g minced rosemary or thyme
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
1 head escarole, (about 450g) trimmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
2 (425g) tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
100g peeled, seeded, and chopped vine-ripened tomato or chopped tinned plum tomato
1.25L chicken stock, homemade or from a stock cube
1 tsp salt plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
Freshly grated Parmesan
Crusty bread for serving
1) In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat, add the pancetta, and saute for about 5 minutes. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion and saute until golden, about 10 minutes.

2) Add the garlic, rosemary, and chilli flakes; saute for 3 minutes more. Add the escarole, stirring for 2 minutes more. Add the beans, tomato, stock, and salt to taste; bring to the 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 to taste.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and/or Parmesan cheese and the crusty bread.

Cook's note: Swiss chard is a welcome substitute for the escarole.

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