4 thick slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 -inch strips
1 small head of escarole, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves--1 minced, 3 crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderately high heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and return the saucepan to moderately high heat. Add the escarole, minced garlic and crushed red pepper and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the escarole wilts, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree half of the beans with the chicken stock until smooth. Add the pureed and whole beans, bacon and 1 1/2 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook until the escarole is tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the crushed garlic in the oil over moderate heat until golden; discard the garlic. Drizzle the soup with the garlic oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Wine Recommendation: 1995 Long Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc or 1995 Silverado Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc