Nonna’s Sneaky Greens Soup

This was how my Tuscan grandmother got me to eat the greens I detested. They said I was a bright child, but I didn’t catch up to what she was doing until I was well into my teens.

  • 8 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup whole canned tomatoes, crushed with your hands (do not use canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium to large onion, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls escarole or curly endive leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tight-packed cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tiny pasta (anice, orzo, stars or alphabets)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup or more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Working Ahead: Soup can be done a day ahead up to point of adding the pasta.

1. In a 6 quart pot combine the broth, wine and tomatoes. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, chickpeas, greens and basil. Simmer partially covered 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the pasta and simmer, partially covered, 8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Taste soup for seasoning. Serve hot, passing the cheese to be sprinkled on the soup as its final seasoning.   Serves 6 to 8 as a first course; 4 to 6 as a light main dish.

Copyright 2004 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.