- Rachael Ray's non profit organization, Yum-o! - https://www.yum-o.org -

Beans and Greens Soup with Sausage Meatballs


  • 1 bundle broccoli rabe
  • Salt
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed (half a palmful)
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper, such as Buon Italia
  • Black pepper
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 slices stale white bread, soaked in milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls), plus more for topping; reserve rind for soup
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 head escarole, chopped
  • A few grates of nutmeg
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 cup small-cut pasta, such as mini penne, mezze rigatoni or orechiette (ear-shaped pasta)


  1. Blanch the broccoli rabe in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes, then cold shock, drain and reserve.
  2. Mix the pork with the fennel seed, red pepper, black pepper and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and crumble very fine into the bowl; add the egg and grated cheese. Mix to combine.
  3. Heat the EVOO in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and brown for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and the remaining garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the escarole and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Once the greens are wilted, add the stock, water and cheese rind and bring to a low boil.
  4. Roll the meat into balls and add to the soup. Cook for 5 minutes; add the pasta and cook to al dente. Stir in the beans and rabe and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve in bowls and top with grated cheese.