White Bean and Escarole Soup
from Chef Scott Conant of L'Impero (New York, NY)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion cut into large pieces
- 3 whole cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 6 ounces pancetta, left in big pieces
- 2 cups dried white beans, such as cannellini or cranberry beans, rinsed, soaked in water for 24 hours, and drained
- 3 quarts homemade or low-sodium purchased chicken broth
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head escarole, shredded (about 3 cups)
- In a large soup pot, heat half of the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, rosemary, sage, and pancetta.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- Add the drained beans and chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook until the beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the herbs, pancetta, and onion pieces, as well as about half of the beans, to a rimmed baking sheet.
- Pick out some of the pancetta and chop it for a garnish.
- Discard all but the beans. Puree the removed beans with about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper; return puree to the pot.
- Add the shredded escarole and cook until wilted.
- Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve soup in warm bowls with reserved chopped pancetta and an additional drizzle of olive oil.
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings