Escarole Soup with Rice

recipe via Mark Bittman, image via Evan Sung for New York Times

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced, plus 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 cups coarsely chopped escarole (approx 1 head)
6 cups chicken, vegetable stock, or water
1/4 cup short-grain white rice, like arborio
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onions and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 more minutes. Add escarole and cook, tossing gently, until it begins to wilt, about another 3 minutes.

2. Add stock and rice to the pan, bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
3. Meanwhile, put remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet. When oil is hot, add sliced garlic and cook over medium-low heat until it turns golden brown and begins to crisp. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. When rice is cooked through, season soup with salt and pepper, top with a grating of Parmesan and garnish with garlic slivers.

Yield: 4 servings

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