Make Ahead

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

August 29, 2011
1 Ratings
  • 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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

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

3 Reviews

lapadia February 21, 2013
This is my favorite soup and I could happily eat ChefJune’s recipe the rest of my life. It is perfect as written, an overnight affair if you are soaking the beans; a quick sauté of onion and garlic before adding the stock, beans, Italian herbs and prosciutto, simmer for an hour, all the while filling your kitchen with a wonderful, fragrant, Italian aroma! During this time, the escarole is prepared and the pasta, farfalle – commonly known as little bowties is cooked and to be added in intervals before serving and topped with cheesy goodness = Parmigiano or Pecorino. Whether you call it fagiole or fazool, which is what my family called it, it’s all the same, pasta with beans soup, a warm-your-soul kind of peasant Italian dish!
lapadia February 21, 2013
PS - For the record...I happily tested this recipe and sent my review (above) to the editors, on time. BTW.
lapadia January 30, 2013