Escarole & Bean Soup with Sausage Meatballs
This soup is my absolute favorite, and is always on my holiday buffet. I make it often during the year as well. The soup can be made ahead of time and frozen, without the pasta. Just defrost and reheat the soup and add pasta the day of the event. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
1 ½ 1bs. Italian Pork Sausage
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup Onion, Chopped & 2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Head of Escarole, Cleaned Well and Chopped
2 Cartons Chicken Stock (32 oz. size)
2 Cans Cannellini Beans, undrained
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Cup Ditalini Pasta
1 Cup of Roasted Chicken Chunks (Optional)
Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Remove the casing from the sausage and form into small sausage balls. In a large skillet, sauté the sausage balls in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil for approx. 3-4 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the sauté pan with the sausage drippings. Saute for approx. 3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the chopped escarole and cook for approx. 3 minutes longer, until escarole is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, chicken stock, and cannellini beans. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer for approx. 10 minutes. Add the sausage balls and the ditalini pasta (or other small pasta), and cook until the pasta is done, approx. 10-12 minutes. The soup will be ready when the pasta is cooked through. If desired, add chunks of roasted chicken (I usually purchase a store bought roasted chicken and cut into small chunks). The addition of the chicken really adds to the heartiness of the dish. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.