Escarole and Garbanzo Bean Soup


Most of us tend to overindulge ourselves over the holidays – myself being no exception.  Overeating at Christmas parties, New Year’s parties, and lavish dinners with friends and family.  In our house, we have the traditional Christmas eve seafood dinner (seven dishes to be exact); on Christmas day, we have rib roast; and then we spend most the week eating the leftovers.  Let’s not forget the cookies and desserts – cannoli, cuccidati, pasticciotti, sfogliatelle, etc.

Then the whole process begins again for the New Year’s holiday.  By the way, I hate throwing food away – an added guilt that helps to increase the waistline.  Come January 2nd, I’m so sick of eating rich foods that I can’t stand to open the frig and take a whiff of whatever is in there.  Enough – basta!  I’m not a big meat eater to begin with, so soup and salad is just about the only food I can stomach at this point.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I’m usually exhausted by all those hours of the cooking and cleaning when the holidays are over. If you feel like I do, then you might like this recipe for escarole soup.  It’s light, refreshing, and takes minutes to make.  You can also add pasta to this dish, such as tubettini or small shell pasta, if desired.

(Minestra di Scarolaè Ciciri /Zuppa di Scarola è Ceci)

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
1 large head escarole, washed, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans
1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 spring fresh marjoram (optional)
Pecorino Romano cheese, cut into small cubes
Crostini toasts

Heat olive oil in a 4-quart covered stock pot over low heat.  Add garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the escarole, garbanzo beans, parsley, and marjoram.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until escarole is tender.  Serve with Pecorino cubes on top.

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