Escarole and White Bean Soup Recipe | PBS Food

Escarole and White Bean Soup

escarole & white bean soup

This was one of the first dishes on the menu when we opened, and it is still a family favorite at home. These vegetables were typically served in a loose broth under stuffed calamari, but they are great on their own or with simply grilled calamari or octopus, and delicious with sauteed or grilled shrimp.



  • 1 1/2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 whole dried pepperoncini
  • 8 cups packed coarsely shredded escarole leaves, preferably the tough outer leaves, washed and drained
  • 1 cup prepared tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  1. Transfer the drained beans to a large Dutch oven.
  2. Pour in water to cover by 2 inches, add the bay leaves, and bring to a boil.
  3. Adjust the heat so the water is simmering, pour in 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  5. Season the beans to taste with salt and discard the bay leaves.
  6. Wipe the Dutch oven dry, and add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
  7. Add the garlic and peperoncini, and cook until they are sizzling and golden, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the escarole, and cook and stir until it begins to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Add beans, tomato sauce, and reserved cooking liquid.
  10. Simmer until thick but still saucy, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  11. Season with salt, and sprinkle with the chives.
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