Escarole and beans was a staple in my grandmother’s kitchen, especially during Lent. Tonight we had a soup that is a heartier version of this traditional Italian dish. This one is made with a grain called farro. It’s similar to barley, but has a nuttier taste and does not get mushy. You can find farro at your favorite supermarket, Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s. Your local health food store will typically have it in the bulk bins. My recipe calls for Better Than Bouillon “No Chicken” Base. This is a vegan soup base that mimics chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth or plain water if you’d like. The soup is even tastier the next day. Buon Appetito!
Makes 8 servings
- 1 medium onion
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- olive oil
- 1 cup farro
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds, ground
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 12 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. Better Than Boullion “No Chicken” base
- 6 cups chopped escarole
- 1-1/2 cups white beans (15 oz. can), drained and rinsed
Cut onion, fennel, carrot and celery into pieces. Process in food processor until finely chopped.
Coat bottom of pot with oil; add farro cook until browned slightly. Add ground fennel seeds and cook until aromatic. Add onion, fennel, carrot, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened. Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and cook until slightly browned.
Add water and bouillon base. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until farro is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir escarole and beans into soup and cook about 4 minutes.
31 Mar 2014