Pasta è Fagiole è Scarola — Soup with Beans, Bow Ties and Escarole

  • Makes
    8 main course or 12-16 starter servings
Author Notes

I lived in the Italian North End of Boston for six years. During that time I came to think of food in the Italian manner – shopping daily and formulating my menus from what was best in the market. This soup is typical of those dishes I developed during that time. In order to make this centerpiece soup, you will need to have a great-quality chicken stock on hand. To complete the meal, all it takes is a fabulous loaf of Italian-style crusty bread and a bottle of delicious Barbera d’Asti. Buon Appetito! —ChefJune


  • 1

    large red onion, chopped

  • 2

    large garlic cloves, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    (shelled) fresh shell (Cranberry) beans (or 1 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight)

  • 1/2 pound

    prosciutto end piece, chopped (bribe it from your Italian deli man!)

  • 4 cups

    chicken stock (preferably homemade)

  • 2 cups

    cold water

  • 1 teaspoon

    rubbed sage

  • 2 teaspoons

    sea salt

  • 1/3 teaspoon

    crushed red pepper flakes

  • 16

    fresh basil leaves, torn

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 pounds

    fresh escarole, chiffonaded

  • 1 pound

    farfalle (bowties)

  • a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until limp and translucent.
  2. Add everything else but the escarole to the onion mixture. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour over medium heat. [You could make the soup a day ahead up to this point.]
  3. Add 2 pounds escarole, shredded. Bring back to the boil and turn the heat off.
  4. Just before serving, cook 1 pound of farfalle (bowties) separately. Add to hot soup. Serve with grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese to sprinkle on top.

30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, “winie,” travel guide/coordinator

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