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posted: 4/17/2012 2:07 PM

Scarola e Fagioli — Escarole and Bean Soup

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  • Escarole and bean soup has been a favorite of Patrice Marotta since she was a child.

      Escarole and bean soup has been a favorite of Patrice Marotta since she was a child.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer


4 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 heads escarole greens, cleaned and chopped

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) white cannellini beans, do not drain liquid

-1 cup fat-free chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red peppers, optional

2 chicken bullion cubes, optional

Freshly grated parmesan or other Italian grating cheese

Italian bread

In a medium to large soup pot add olive oil and garlic. Saute your garlic, be careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from pan from heat for about 5 minutes; if you add the escarole while the oil and garlic are hot it will splatter.

Add escarole, chicken broth, beans, with their liquid, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes or until escarole is wilted down. Taste it and if you feel it needs more flavor add the 2 bullion cubes with an additional cup of chicken broth. I also like to add crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of spice but that's entirely up to you. If you prefer it more soupy, add more broth. Top with grated cheese and serve with warm Italian bread.

Serves four to six.

Cook's note: My grandmother and mother used to make this dish with hot Italian sausage and pieces of pork. Before you add and saute your garlic, saute hot Italian sausage, cut into chunks, and pieces of pork. I use 2 boneless pork chops and cut them into cubes. The pork gives it a nice flavor. Saute the meat and garlic until meat is browned on both sides, add the rest of your ingredients and cook 1 hour or until greens are wilted down and flavors meld together.

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