Italian Sausage, Escarole & White Bean Soup

Tod Dimmick

A delicious use for fresh escarole, local sausage, and chicken stock.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 lb Italian sausage meat, or link sausage cut into (local!)
2 TB Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6-8 cups chicken broth
1 head escarole, coarsely chopped and thoroughly rinsed
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups preserved tomatoes, diced (or one can - 28 oz. diced tomatoes)
Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping

Cook the sausage in a heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat, stirring, for 8 minutes or until completely cooked. Carefully pour off excess fat. Clear the middle of the stock pot, pour in the olive oil, add the garlic, and cook for another minute, stirring, or until garlic begins to tan. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, and stir, scraping up all the bits of sausage attached to the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the broth, turn heat to medium high, and bring just to a boil. Add the escarole, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Then add the Cannellini beans and the tomatoes, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring, or until soup reaches the desired temperature.

Distribute to serving bowls and top with shredded Parmesan cheese. A spinach salad alongside, and a glass of Chianti, and you will be transported back to the old country.

Vegetarian alternative: the seductive components of Italian sausage, namely the fat and the salt, are big factors in this soup. If you eliminate the sausage, start with 4 TB olive oil and use that for cooking the garlic, and add salt to taste and a dash of hot sauce along with the Italian seasoning.

Served up by Tod Dimmick,
AKA "The Foodie" at 1000radishes

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