Pasta and Escarole Soup

Serve this comforting soup on a cold winter’s night.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (32 ounces)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 pound penne rigate pasta
  • 1 head escarole, chopped
  • Grated cheese, for serving


In a soup pot, heat 3 tablepoons EVOO, three turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and fennel seed and cook until softened. Add the celery, leek, carrot, onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups water, the vegetable or chicken stock and the tomato sauce.

Bring the liquid to a boil and stir in the pasta. Cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Add the escarole at the end to wilt. Serve the soup with a drizzle of EVOO and some cheese on top.

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