Inspiration and instructions from Lidia Bastianich…
I binge watched a Saturday afternoon full of Lidia Bastianich cooking shows on PBS a couple of weeks ago and as evidenced by the success of the poached egg, Lidia makes it look so easy. One of the episodes was about the Italian love for bitter greens like mustard greens, chicory, radicchio and escarole.
Nothing that starts out with garlic will end badly, so I knew this recipe for Escarole soup would be terrific. I started with some garlic and olive oil in large heatproof pot ( my le Creuset, medium size).
I added canned white beans instead of using dried ones that have been soaked. Saves time and really doesn’t change the end result. I added 2 quarts of water, bay leaves, more olive oil and left it to simmer for about 30 minutes. (If using soaked beans the time is longer by 1.5 hours)
Once the beans have cooked down, turn the heat down and add 4 cups of shredded/torn escarole and simmer again for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and toast some dried hot pepper flakes in the oil.
Add about a cup of the soup from the larger pot to the hot oil and pepper. It WILL sizzle, so be cautious.
Add the contents of the skillet to the soup pot and stir well. Season to taste and serve! Mangia!