My loving grandmother, Sebastiana, lived in a two-story house on Liberty Street in Middletown, Connecticut. Born in Sicily, she came to the United States with her new husband, had a daughter and a son (my father), and 6 granddaughters. Visits with her were joyful, boisterous occasions where her small kitchen managed to fit us all. Together we enjoyed her delicious homemade pasta, soup, and vegetable dishes.
One of my favorite dishes she prepared for us included a green leafy vegetable she called “scaloda” which is actually escarole. She added escarole to cannellini beans, vegetables & a pasta broth resulting in a slightly creamy, soft soup. The taste of escarole is what makes this soup special. Many cooks have variations of it, but the recipe below is my version reproduced from my memory. It is also listed in the menu under Vegetarian/Vegan Soup. It’s a great quick comfort soup! Try it and let me know what you think! — Carole
Scaloda Bean Soup from Memory — by Carole
1/2 onion chopped, 1 celery stick chopped, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 can 19oz cannellini white kidney beans (I like Progresso), 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, 4 tablespoons of orzo*, and two large handfuls of fresh roughly chopped escarole, 1/4 cup of romano cheese (I prefer BelGioioso).
*Some people like more orzo in their soup than I recommend, but add it sparingly as too much orzo can absorb most if not all of the broth.
In a 3 quart pan, under medium heat, warm the olive oil and then add the chopped onions and celery. Once the onions are translucent, add the cannellini beans. Mash the beans a little in the pan then add the broth. I use 4 tablespoons of powdered vegetable mix available at our local coop and stir it into 4 cups of cold water.
Once the broth begins to warm up, add the orzo. Cook the soup until the orzo is soft. Then add large handfuls of escarole, stir and cook until it is soft (but not soggy). This takes just a few minutes. Shut off the stove and pour into soup bowls. Top with romano cheese and fresh black pepper. Serve with crusty sourdough bread. Watching this video may be helpful.