Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cooking: Italian Bread Soup with Escarole

It has been a looong while since I've cooking something and I suppose it has been because I've been stressed out lately but nothing seemed better than a nice comforting bowl of soup tonight for dinner so I made Italian Bread Soup with Escarole. There's something about white beans, leafy greens in a nice tomatoey broth right? Not only that but it has the toasts on top which were topped with a really nice grated parmesan and broiled in the oven. Oh yeah... and the crispy bits of pancetta really rounded things out. Salty and crunchy :9

I started out by crisping up the pancetta in my dutch oven. I removed them and let them drain on a paper towel while I added a chopped onion and 3 chopped cloves of garlic.

The directions say to let the onion and garlic get nice and golden before adding the rest of the ingrediants but I was busy topping the baguette slices with cheese and let the onions and garlic get a little brown (OK.. I burned them a bit :P). I gave the onions a quick stir to get them to stop sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven before pouring in my chicken stock, canned chopped Italian tomatoes, oregano, pepper & escarole.

The escarole needed to be cooked down a bit for 5 minutes so I took that opportunity to pop the baguette slices in the oven to get toasty. Keep an eye on them! They don't take 5 minutes on broil and you will burn them. I let them broil for about 2 1/2 minutes and they came out perfect. I thought I started to smell something burn so thankfully I pulled them out on time.

Once the toast was done, I added the white beans to the soup, seasoned it with salt and let everything simmer for 15 minutes before serving.

Italian Bread Soup with Escarole

1 oz. chopped pancetta
1 chopped medium onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
14 oz. chopped canned Italian tomatoes
5 cups of chopped escarole (1 bunch)
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
30 oz canned cannellini beans rinsed and drained
4 oz sliced Italian baguette
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1) Set dutch oven on stove over medium heat and add some olive oil. Once the dutch oven has heated through, add pancetta and brown for about 2-3 minutes. Once the pancetta has browned, transfer to a paper towel to drain.

2) Add the chopped onion and let it cook for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic and let them cook together for another 5 minutes. Once they are golden (don't burn them like I did), add broth, tomatoes, escarole, oregano and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the dutch oven. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

3) While the soup is simmering, set oven to broil, put sliced baguette onto a foil lined cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top with parmesan cheese. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and broil for 2 1/2 minutes. Keep an eye on it! Take out of the oven and set aside.

4) Add the cannellini beans to the soup and simmer for another 15 minutes.

5) Ladle soup into a bowl and top with a couple baguette slices and crispy pancetta and serve.

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