Escarole was always a major staple in my household while I was growing up. My mom cooked it weekly, usually throwing it together with a whole lot of garlic, olive oil, and white beans. Sometimes it would be in a broth, sometimes it would be mixed with pasta, but it would always be tasty. We would eat leftovers for days, almost until she made it again.
At the farmer's market on Sunday, I bought the biggest and most beautiful head of escarole I have ever seen. In typical Portland fashion, it was a June rainy day and I was craving soup, so I chopped up my lovely head of it and made a very delicious escarole soup from the June 2004 issue of Bon Appetit. It tasted so fresh and healthy and completely hit the spot on this very un-summery day.
Escarole Soup with Garbonzo Beans and Pasta: from Bon Appetit
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 14 1/2-ounce cans vegetable broth
2 cups (about) water, divided
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice with Italian herbs
1/2 cup farfallini or other small pasta (I used alphabet pasta!)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
5 cups thinly sliced escarole
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, 1 cup water, and tomatoes with juice; bring to boil. Add pasta; cover and boil until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add marjoram, beans, then escarole. Simmer until escarole is tender, about 5 minutes, adding up to 1 cup water if pasta absorbs broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.