Friday, March 20th, was “officially” the first day of Spring ’09 and we woke up to a dusting of fresh snow! And one last time (my husband hopes!), we saw fat snowflakes clinging to the still, leafless branches of trees and frosting the bushes and shrubs white. “A not-so-warm welcome to spring!”, I thought to myself as I filled my cup of coffee and went back to the window. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sight, first thing in the morning!

snow lining the bushes

snow lining the branchessnow lining the trees

As I took the first sip of my coffee and turned my computer on, I was glad I didn’t have to commute in the morning and had the luxury of working from home. But most signs of snow were gone by mid-morning and within a couple of hours it had started to warm up a little, melting the snow away. Soon the sun came back up in the sky, reminding us that spring is just around the corner!

snow melting away

Since I was at home all day and it was still a little cold out there, a hearty bowl of soup that needed very little effort and not much time, sounded like a perfect idea for lunch.  Well, the “soup season” is not over yet! So here’s another one, to make the most of the season while it lasts….

Escarole with Cannelini Beans, Pasta and Asiago Cheese

Ah, Escarole and White Bean Soup! I had been wanting to try this soup recipe after seeing my favorite star chef make it on Foodnetwork and I also had all the ingredients on the list readily available from a pasta dish that I made for dinner a couple of days back.

Pasta with Escarole, White Beans and Sausage

So I pulled a pot out of the cabinet and started sautéing some onions and garlic. Then I chopped up some escarole and threw it in along with the cannellini beans and poured in the chicken stock. To add more weight to the soup I decided to stir in little pasta elbows and grated Asiago cheese. Half an hour later look what I got!

Escarole adds a nice green touch to this delicious soup. The pasta and Asiago cheese are a hearty addition to this wonderful slew of nutritious veggies and white beans. After one bowl of this rich soup for lunch, I was ready log off from work and take the rest of the day off!

Escarole with Cannelini Beans, Pasta and Asiago cheese

Serves 2 meals or 4 first courses

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, diced

½ bunch of escarole, roughly chopped

leafy green escarole

1 (15 oz/425g) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 cups (32 oz./945 ml/1qt box) vegetable stock or low-sodium chicken

½  cup (a handful) short shape pasta (like elbow, ditalini, fiori)

¼ cup grated aged Asiago cheese

salt

fresh ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium – high and sauté  garlic and onions  till they are fragrant and become transluscent, for 2-3 mins.  Add the escarole and sauté until wilted, about 2 mins. Stir in the beans and season with salt and pepper.

Continue sautéing  for 1-2 mins more. Pour in the stock and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and continue boiling uncovered for 10-11 mins till the pasta cooks (See the packet of pasta for cooking duration).

Turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 mins.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Grate Parmesan cheese over each and serve hot with bread sticks.

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2 thoughts on “welcome spring!

  1. Yep, snow is pretty to look at when we’re indoors 🙂 I can’t wait for spring either….Soup recipes look really appetizing…Will try them and let u know the result…

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