Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Nonna's Santa's Soup from Luisa Buehler

I have three talks this week. The first at the Schaumburg Twp. Library was great fun. I served fruitcake and other treats for 60 folks and talked cookbooks. Tonight I have a presentation at the Itasca Community Library which is a wonderful facility as well. More information about my current projects is featured at my agent Terry Burns' blog post for the Hartline Literary Agency this week too. So in the midst of all this I'm delighted to have a wonderful guest blogger today.
Luisa Buehler is as elegant in person as is her prose. She owns a business, is the President of the Love is Murder Conference Board, participates in several writing organizations, and writes truly excellent books. You can buy her Grace Marsden series through I have read all these - enjoyed them - and bought them as gifts. Many patrons of the library are fond of these as well. Luisa does have a story in the Missing Anthology too - a prequel to the Grace series! I was so excited she agreed to guest blog. I love the story - and the recipe. Enjoy! - Amy

Here is a recipe from my Nonna. This is something we'd have as a side dish on Christmas Day, never the Eve because that was baccala (yuk).
This story happened twenty years after my Nonna was gone. We wanted to celebrate an old fashioned "Cousins Christmas" and tried to remember what it was like when we all shared the "kids" table during the holiday meals. My oldest cousin was charged with making the side dish with the sausage and cannillini. We thought she'd remember best.

We had a good laugh when we sat down to our dinner to find the side dish was now stuffed cannelloni. She hadn't remembered the dish properly, thought we couldn't pronounce the word properly and decided what we wanted was pasta not soup! We teased her that we were lucky she didn't think we meant 'conoli'! It was delicious but not Nonna Santa's recipe. I've made this a number of times and each time I laugh at the memory. My cousin has since passed away but it seems she's smiling at me when I add the beans and don't stuff the pasta.
Nonna Santa’s Sausage and Bean Soup
3T olive oil
12 Italian sausages (about 3 lbs) castings removed (1 lb hot and 2 lbs mild)
1 C chopped onion
½ C (2 oz) (5 strips) of prosciutto)
1T minced garlic
¼t dried, crushed red pepper
1 large head escarole, chopped (about 10 C)
¾ C dry white wine
4-15 oz cans beans (3 Great Northern and 1 Cannelini) rinsed and drained
1 C chicken stock or broth
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté sausage until cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 6 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to bowl, leaving drippings in pot. Reduce heat to medium, add onion to pot and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add prosciutto and sauté 1 minute. Mix in garlic and crushed red pepper. Add escarole and sauté until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook 2 minutes. Add beans, stock and sausage and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors. Season to taste with pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 12 as a side dish or 6 as main course.
Buon Appetito!

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