Since the chicken is cut into such small pieces, it cooks in no time. Add it to the pot, simmer very briefly, and then serve the soup right away before the chicken has a chance to overcook.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
7 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
3/4 cup rice, preferably arborio
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound escarole (1 small head), leaves washed and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 in all), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
How to Make It
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, rice, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the escarole to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the escarole is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and pepper. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering for just 1 minute. The chicken should be done.
Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the parsley and Parmesan.
Variation: For a richer soup, stir two well-beaten eggs into the pot along with the parsley and Parmesan cheese (after removing the pot from the heat).
Wine Recommendation: Avoid a red wine--its tannins will accentuate the bitterness of the greens. Instead, try a rich tocai friulano, the nuttiness of which will complement the escarole.