Many years ago, a neighbor or ours, Ann, use to make scarola and beans. I recall her soup being laden with dark leaf greens and white cannellini beans. We would dunk our Italian bread into the broth to sop up the juices.
I purchased one too many heads of escarole when I was making stuffed escarole. I dug out my Naples at Table cookbook, by Arthur Schwartz, to find a recipe for bean and escarole soup. The recipe could use either dried cannellini beans or canned, plus 3-4 plum tomatoes, celery and parsley. No unusual ingredients here, but a bit of time is required.
I decided to cook my own beans so that I didn't have the gooey water that comes with the canned beans. It takes approximately one hour to cook beans, but worth the wait. I had to do the soup in two steps, so the first day I prepared the beans. What I didn't do, but should have, was to take the cooked beans, and their liquid, and refrigerate them both. The next afternoon I blanched the escarole in 10 cups of water to recreate the same amount of liquid that I needed to cook the beans. Once the greens were cooked, I added back the cannellini beans and proceeded to finish the recipe as it was written.
While my bean and bean escarole soup didn't look our neighbor Ann's, but it was delicious. I even threw in a Parmesan Reggiano rind to flavor the broth. This recipe is a keeper.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.