- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 cups coarsely pulsed stale peasant or white Italian bread (pulse the bread a few times in the food processor)
- EVOO, for drizzling
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 lb. pancetta or guanciale, finely chopped
- 1 lb. chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
- Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- A few sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped from stems and chopped
- 1 large head escarole, coarsely chopped
- A few grates of nutmeg
- 1 qt. (32 oz.) chicken stock
- 1 can (14 to 15.5 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
- 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
- 1 lemon, zested (about 1 1/2 tsp.), 1/2 juiced (about 2 tbsp.)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. In a small dish, microwave the butter on high until melted, 20 to 30 seconds. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet. Douse with the butter, drizzle with EVOO and toss with 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until golden and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the olive oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper and add the rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the escarole and nutmeg; cover and cook until the escarole wilts, about 2 minutes. Add the stock, beans and cheese rind; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium; simmer until the flavor from the rind is released, just a few minutes. Season with salt; add the lemon zest and juice. Discard rind. Ladle soup into bowls; top with the croutons.