escarole and white bean soup with rustic croutons

Serves 4
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion (about 6 oz.),
diced
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 medium to large head escarole
(about 14 oz.), trimmed
of outer leaves, 2 inches
of root end cut off, leaves
sliced across into 3/4-inch
wide strips (to yield about
9 to 10 cups), and thoroughly
washed
K kosher salt and freshly
ground black pepper
2 cups homemade or lower salt
vegetable broth
1 cup cooked small white
beans (if canned, drained)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-
Reggiano
R ustic Croutons
(recipe below)

This is a variation on a classic
Italian soup that traditionally
has more escarole and beans
than broth. Escarole is one of
the easiest greens to prepare
since you don’t need to stem
it; just slices the whole head
across into ribbons before
washing.
1. Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart low-sided soup pot or Dutch oven
over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until
softened and browned, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and
sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the escarole and stir thoroughly
to coat the leaves (and to deglaze the pan slightly with their
moisture). Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the
broth, stir well, and bring to a boil; cover the pot, lower to a simmer,
and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover the pot, add the beans, and
simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and turn
off the heat.
2. Ladle the soup into 4 shallow soup bowls and top each with 1 Tbs. of
the cheese and a quarter of the croutons.

rustic croutons
Makes 2 cups
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups lightly packed 3/4-inch
cubes of bread from a good
airy loaf like ciabatta
K kosher salt

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add
the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Season with salt and
sauté, stirring constantly, until crisp and browned on most sides,
2 to 4 minutes.

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