I often make soup on Mondays, a holdover from when I worked late shift and we needed a quick re-heat sort of dinner. I like the tradition, though – if I make the soup in the morning it gives me a chance to putter around the house doing laundry and paying bills and the like, occasionally wandering through the kitchen to give things a stir. And most soups, especially bean soups, are better if they’re made ahead and given a chance to sit and meld in the fridge.
This soup, a variation of my favorite pasta fazool, was intended to celebrate the very last of the season’s fresh cannellini beans from Dunbar Gardens. I love fresh shelling beans with a passion, and never get to eat quite as many as I’d like before the season is past, so I was glad to get one final bag. And while we were at the farmstand I also picked up a bunch of curly endive – I thought it was escarole but I was wrong – to toss into the soup.
I haven’t worked with this sort of endive before, but I really liked it. I had cooked the beans separately, with garlic and bay leaf, and started off the soup pot with celery and more garlic and a pound of bulk Italian sausage. I roughly chopped the greens and mixed them into the sausage until they wilted a bit, then poured in chicken stock and the beans with their broth. Everything simmered for half an hour or so, until the endive was soft but still green. I liked how it kept some shape, unlike spinach, but wasn’t as firm in the soup as kale. Its light bitterness was a perfect complement to the creamy beans and the sausage.
After the first night, when we ended up eating much of the meat and greens out of the soup, I added a few handfuls of macaroni to fill out the broth. That was good, too. I could easily eat this soup every week.