30 minutes
serves 4-6
This is a quick and delicious soup from Tuscany. It's perfect for chilly days when you need a quick supper - it goes together very quickly, and doesn't require long simmering. You can omit the sausage for a vegetarian rendition that's every bit as good.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ to 1 pound lightly smoked sausage (optional), sliced or in small chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head escarole, or other dark green, coarsely chopped
  • 5-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cooked white beans, or 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, undrained
  • grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to taste

a note on ingredients and substitutions

When you make this quick white bean & escarole soup, don’t feel you are required to use every ingredient just as listed. I like to use escarole, which is available throughout the winter, but you could substitute any type or mixture of dark leafy greens: chard, spinach, romaine, arugula, or even leaf lettuce. You’ll need 2 to 2½ quarts (8-10 cups) greens, coarsely chopped.

For a vegetarian version that’s every bit as delicious: omit the sausage and use vegetable stock. If you’ll be using sausage, a cooked and smoked sausage works very well, as does kielbasa. You could use sweet or hot Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled, or even leftover breakfast sausage. This isn’t a fussy recipe! Use what’s handy.

 

cook the soup

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Don’t let it brown; that can make the soup bitter. Stir in the sausage, if using, and then add the escarole or other greens and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.

Add in the beans (if using canned white beans, dump in beans and their liquid: do not drain) and the stock. Simmer until the flavors blend and the soup thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.

Serve with a small drift of grated Parmesan over the top.

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