The other day a buddy of mine shot me a message asking me for wine recommendations to go with escarole & bean soup, and when he asked I thought to myself “wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve had escarole & bean soup!”. So the next day I was at the market and texted my wife asking what she would like to have for dinner. Her response was simply “soup”… Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. So you can obviously guess what immediately popped into my head! Thanks for the inspiration Scott… lol.
So here’s my recipe for Escarole & Bean Soup with Sausage, I hope you enjoy.
Also, if you would like to serve it in a homemade bread bowl you can find that recipe in my Potato Chowder and Bread Bowl post.
Serves: 4-6 as an entrée, 8 or more as an appetizer/side.
2tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2lb Sweet Sausage Links, cut into small chunks
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 White Onion, sliced
2c Dry White Wine
6c Chicken Broth (stock)
1/3lb Chunk of Parmesan Cheese
3tsp Salt, (3) 1tsp portions
3tsp Ground Black Pepper, (3) 1tsp portions
38oz Canned Cannellini Beans
1 Bunch Escarole, chopped
4tbsp Unsalted Butter
Heat the olive oil in a large pot at medium high. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and onion, as well as 1tsp each of salt and pepper, cook for 3 minutes, stirring periodically. Increase the heat to high and add the white wine, reduce by half. Once the wine is reduced add the chicken stock and water, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and add the chunk of parmesan as well as 1tsp each of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring periodically. Add the butter, escarole, beans and the remaining salt and pepper, continue to simmer covered on medium low for an additional 20 minutes, stirring periodically.
Ladle it up and you’re ready to mangia!
Now let’s talk wine… So we’re looking for wines to pair with an uber traditional Italian soup, and in my opinion you simply HAVE to stay Italian with the wine. Listed below are my recommendations, including the wine that we had with the soup on day one, which is listed first, and what we had with the leftovers two days later, which is listed last.
Terra del Noce Barbera d’Asti Superiore, Piemonte, Italy – Terra del Noce is the entry level bottling of the Trinchero family, who has been producing wine in Asti since 1929. Barbera is the only varietal that they grow and it is their belief that the Barbera grape is grossly underrated, mainly considered a table wine, and they strive to show the world its potential of depth, elegance and complexity. In the glass you’ll find a medium bodied wine redolent with aromas of cherry, dark plum and tobacco. The palate matches the bouquet, with additional nuances of underripe strawberry, sage and black tea, all framed by moderate acidity and relatively firm tannins giving the wine balance and backbone. As always, the wine over delivers for the price. PP Score: 89 (Retail $13-16) *Practicing Organic
Cascina delle Rose Dolcetto d’Alba A Elizabeth, Piemonte, Italy – Cascina delle Rose have a meager three hectares of vineyard in the Rio Sordo Valley in Barbaresco. They have been producing wines since 1948, however, they’ve only been bottling wines under their own label since 1992. They are very highly regarded for their Barbarescos, but what most people don’t realize is that they also make very small quantities of Barbera and Dolcetto as well. Their Dolcetto is beautifully fresh and vibrant, with bright cherry notes, dried herbs, churned loam and subtle leather. The wine is stainless aged, allowing the fruit to shine and giving it great lift. The only problem is availability. With only 330 cases made per vintage there isn’t much to go around, but if you can find it the price is reasonable enough that you can stock up. PP Score: 90 (Retail $15-18) *Practicing Organic
Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico, Toscana, Italy – Castell’in Villa’s nearly 300 hectares of land (only 54 of which are under vine) are located in the prestigious hills of Castelnuovo Berardenga in the southern portion of the Chianti Classico DOCG. They are to Chianti Classico what Giacomo Conterno is to Barolo, Pingus is to Ribera del Duero, Petrus is to Bordeaux and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is to Burgundy… the best of the best of the best. They were established in 1968 (first vintage was 1971) and their wines have proven to be the most classic, elegant, and age worthy bottlings ever to come from Chianti Classico. Their Chianti Classico is their basic offering, but there is nothing entry level about it. In the glass is a medium-to-full bodied wine of garnet hue with hints of rust along the edges. The bouquet is redolent with aromas of dried cherry, fresh mint, woodsmoke and damp earth. The palate predominantly mirrors the bouquet, along with additional hints of blackberry, cedar box, leather and crushed black pepper, with firm tannins giving grip and backbone that will soften over time, leading into a warm, lingering finish. Truly fit for royalty, which is apropos considering the owner is indeed a Princess. Approachable now, but this wine could easily stand another 10-20 years in the cellar. An absolute steal at this price. PP Score: 92+ (Retail $22-26)
So there you have it, my escarole soup recipe and my wine recommendations for pairings. Just let me know warn you now, if you make this soup and pair Ruffino with it we can no longer be friends, lol… Actually I’m not kidding. Anyway… As always there is new content in the works, but in the meantime sit back, relax, and crack open a bottle of small production Italian awesomeness. Life is short, enjoy it!