As a notorious omnivore, I like everything from hearty meat and potatoes meals to light salads. I’m also of the opinion that any time you can cram another fruit or vegetable in a dish, you’ve done yourself a good service. My husband is not a huge fan of light salads, light, brothy soups, or what he would refer to as “veggie-intensive” meals. I am. So I thought this pasta-veggie soup, which starts by rendering fat from a bit of Pancetta, would be a great compromise of a dish. The soup calls for a head of escarole, to be chopped and then wilted in the hot broth.
Here’s where the funny/gross part comes in, depending on how much one enjoys “veggie-intensive” meals…I bought a head of escarole, and it was literally the biggest head of escarole I have ever seen. It really wasn’t a head of escarole, it was more like magnificent afro of escarole. Erykah Badu would look at it and say “Damn. I need that escarole.” Seriously, it was ridiculously big (and gorgeous).
So I made soup according to directions, adding the escarole at the last minute and letting it wilt a bit before serving. Normally a big bunch of greens would take no time to wilt. But I brought the soup to the table with the escarole still looking a tiny bit perky. Aside from that, there was a just a HUGE amount of it. Now, the idea of sitting down to a big bowl of greens floating in a flavorful tomato-chicken broth with pasta and cheese sounds terrific to me…but it’s the kind of thing that resonates less with hubby. So that meal did not go over well.
That being said, I think the recipe is an absolute winner. I’d give the broth a chance to simmer a bit more than the recipe calls for and I’d season it generously. I’d also make sure to let the escarole swim in the hot tub a bit before serving, but those tweaks aside, it’s a really healthy, satisfying dinner. And, like all things of this nature, it benefits from an overnighter in the fridge. The flavors really get a chance to develop and–wow–what a lovely lunch…even if the pasta does lose its toothsomeness.
So, I was wondering: Any ideas on how to cope with a “divided table?” How do you balance the needs of one person with another? Ideas? Stories? Recipes?