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Scarola e Fagiole: White Bean and Escarole Soup with Homemade Pancetta

Posted by Peggy on January 11, 2012

Scarola e Faciole: White Bean and Escarole Soup with Pancetta
Recipe: Scarola e Faciole: White Bean and Escarole Soup with Homemade Pancetta


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra oil for drizzling
  • 2 cups chopped onion or sliced leeks (white and light green parts only, well-washed)
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks and core removed; chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 (5-6 inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, freshly cured if possible, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups soaked, dried white beans, such as cannellini rinsed, soaked in water for 12-24 hours, then drained
  • 12 cups (64 ounces) chicken stock
  • 1 head escarole (3/4 pound), washed and sliced into thin ribbons (8 cups)
  • Parmigianno Reggiano


  1. In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions or leeks and fennel and cook with a pinch of kosher salt until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary sprigs, and pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
  4. Add the drained beans and chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the beans are tender, 60-90 minutes. (At this point, the soup can be made 24 hours in advance, refrigerated.)
  5. Remove and discard rosemary stem and larger rosemary leaves. If less fat is desired, remove pancetta. Pancetta may also be diced, at this point, and used as a garnish.
  6. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree 1/2 of the beans to thicken the soup. Add the shredded escarole and cook until wilted and tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  7. Serve soup in bowls garnished with reserved chopped pancetta, if using that way, Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Time to soak beans: 12-24 hours

Active Time: 30 minutes

Simmer Time: apx. 2 hours

Number of servings (yield): 4-6 servings

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