The Splendid Table

Lynne Rossetto Kasper kicks ass.

She hosts The Splendid Table on NPR, a show I enjoy when I do (infrequently) catch it. However, what I really appreciate about her is the weekly email newsletter she writes, which includes a new recipe every week, excerpted from various sources.

I’ve been cooking a lot more in the last few months, and many of my favorite recipes have been from this newsletter. Every one I’ve tried has been very good, and most are pretty damn easy. Here’s one of our favorites.

I would link directly to a web version if I could find it.

Ham, Bean and Escarole Soup
Excerpted from Food Made Fast: Weeknight by Melanie Barnard (Oxmoor House, 2006). Copyright 2006 by Weldon Owen, Inc. and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher.

Serves 4

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound thickly sliced ham, cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 1 head escarole, cored, leaves torn into pieces
  • 2 14-ounce cans white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the ham and sauté until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add more oil if necessary. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

2. Add the broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the escarole and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the beans, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes to heat through.

3. Add the ham to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Using the back of a large spoon, mash some of the beans to thicken the soup slightly. Simmer for 2 minutes longer. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with some of the cheese, and serve. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.

It’s easy to make, healthy, filling, and leftovers keep great in the freezer. I didn’t know what escarole was before I tried this recipe, but now I’m a fan (at least in this soup)!

To sign up for her mailing list, click here and choose Weeknight Kitchen.