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White bean and escarole soup with olio nuovo

Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 8
White bean and escarole soup with olio nuovo
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times )
1

In a large pot, peel and halve one of the onions and combine with the beans, celery, carrot, garlic and sage or rosemary. Add water to cover by 2 inches and stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil. Loosely cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour, adding water to pot if needed to keep beans submerged. (If using unsoaked beans, they will absorb more water and cooking can take up to 2 hours.)

2

Remove and discard the onion, celery, carrot and sage. Fish out the garlic cloves and place in a small bowl, smashing them with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Stir the garlic paste back into the pot and season the beans with 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste. (The beans can be made a day or 2 in advance and refrigerated.)

3

Core and wash the escarole, shaking off any excess water, and roughly chop into large, bite-sized pieces. Finely chop remaining onion. In a large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a little salt to the pan, along with the chile broken in half. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and pale golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the escarole and a little more salt to the pan, stirring occasionally, until the escarole wilts, becomes tender and color darkens, 10 to 15 minutes. Add a little water, as needed, if the mixture begins to stick to the pan.

4

Add the cooked escarole to the beans, adding additional water or broth as needed so the mixture has a thick, soup-like consistency. Place the pot over medium heat to warm and marry the flavors, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

5

Place a slice of grilled or toasted bread in each soup bowl. Ladle over the soup and top each serving with a drizzle of olio nuovo.


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