The first recipe I want to tell you about is “escarole and red beans soup” because it is such a simple and frugal dish, that reminds me when my ancestors had to feed the whole family in such hard times, with locally grown and poor ingredients.
I grew up loving it because my entire family would make it, with fresh escaroles coming straight from my grandpa’s orchard, yes, I grew up going incampagna(to the field) with my nonno Pasquale, who taught me the love for harvesting fresh ingredient, literally farm-to-table.
(In the next posts, maybe I will tell you about the characters of my childhood, people who inspired and impressed in me the love for food and cooking.
Back to the soup….
Perfect during winter, because escarole is in season, this is such a comfy soup that you can prepare yearlong with different greens.
Pantry and budget- friendly this recipe features humble ingredients but standout flavor. Greens and beans are a classic pairing in Italian peasant cuisine (as well as many other cuisines from around the world), known as cucina povera (“poor cuisine”). Brothy cooked-from-dried beans and hearty greens like escarole, Tuscan kale or chard, which can last for a long time in the fridge, together create dishes that are simple, quick, filling and healthy, especially in this moment of difficulties
- 1 lbs. dried red beans (or canned)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped carrot
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 bunch (8z) escarole or kale, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 2-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry white wine¼ cup chopped prosciutto crudoor guanciale
- ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Rinse the beans few times, put them in a large bowl with water, chopped vegetables, and let it soak, possible overnight. The longer you soak them to faster will cook. By soaking they will start absorbing all the flavors that will be held by beans during the cooking.
- In a large pot or wok, combine oil, garlic and chopped prosciutto (if using). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until prosciutto gets slightly crunchy and garlic has softened and is just beginning to turn lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high and add wine. Bring to a simmer and cook, swirling pan and scraping up any stuck-on bits with a wooden spoon, until wine has emulsified with olive oil and mixture is slightly reduced, about 30 seconds.
- Add beans and soaking water (if using dried beans) or stock (if using canned beans), season lightly with salt (remember prosciutto or guanciale are already salty themselves) and let it cook for 30/40 minutes or until cooked, stirring occasionally. While cooking you can crush part of the beans against the side of pot in order to make the mixture creamy and thick.
- Right before the beans are cooked, add the chopped escarole and let is cook for bit, stirring occasionally till thickened and soften. Do not over cook. You want the escarole (or kale) to keep their freshness and crunchiness.
- Let it rest of few minutes. You can eat right away adding some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top. Enjoy it with stale bread or crostini.
This soup was featured by @EATWITH Blog as Comfort Food recipe. See it here