This is a typical hearty Tuscan soup and is the perfect antidote to a cold winter day. It's typically made with farro, and ancient Etruscan grain, but we've substituted barley in its place; it works like a charm.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
5 cups chopped escarole
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups water
1 cup canned cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 beef-flavored bouillon cube
How to Make It
Put the oil and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in rosemary, escarole, salt, and pepper; cook until escarole wilts and all the liquid has evaporated. Add water, beans, barley, and bouillon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the barley is tender.
Wine Note: A classic Tuscan comfort food such as this dish calls for Tuscany's famous comfort wine: Chianti. Brolio's affordable 1997 Chianti Classico ($16) befits the humbleness of this soup.