Giada De Laurentiis' Beans & Greens Soup Is Simple Cold-Weather Comfort

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Halloween may be over, but thankfully, soup season is here to stay. Once the weather turns cold, we find ourselves craving cozy soup recipes pretty much on a daily basis. There’s the thick and creamy, like loaded baked potato soup and mushroom and wild rice soup, and the noodled, like ramen, pho, and chicken with egg noodle. But sometimes, the simplest soups are the best, like Giada De Laurentiis’ (author of Giada’s Italy) brothy white beans and greens soup. Not only is it total comfort food on cold nights, it’s also full of nourishment that will keep you healthy and strong agains the winter winds howling outside.

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Like most of De Laurentiis’ recipes, this soup has a decidedly Italian bent. She calls for escarole, a bitter leafy green, in the soup, though it can be substituted for baby spinach (we also love using mustard greens in soups like this, which mellow out considerably after cooking in broth).

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Rounding out the Italian inspiration are a garnish of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parm rinds can also be used to fortify the broth), and a dusting of fennel pollen or organic honey pollen.

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These garnishes make the soup seem luxurious. Which is great, because we love a secretly simple recipe. The rest of the soup is made with a classic combo of onion, carrot, and celery, which are sweated in olive oil along with some smashed garlic cloves. The soup gets a kick of heat from red pepper flakes (you could also add Calabrian chili paste), and then the canned cannellini beans and chicken broth are added to the pot (use veggie broth to keep the recipe meat-free). Add the greens and cook until tender, and it’s really that simple.

Of course, there are lots of ways to put your own spin on the recipe. Try swapping cannellini beans for chickpeas, adding cooked crumbled Italian sausage, throwing in a handful of fresh chopped herbs at the end — there’s lots of room to play. But one thing you absolutely must do is serve this soup with a big hunk of bread, because you’re going to want to soak up every last drop of goodness from your bowl.

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