This is a great soup for those who aren’t overly fond of eating peppery, bitter greens raw. The bitterness is mellowed in cooking, leaving the peppery quality to add some pique. To make a more substantial soup, add some cooked protein, or even quick-cooking raw protein, such as boneless chicken, fish, thin sliced beef or pork. Tofu is also good.

The recipe calls for short-grain white rice, such as Arborio, to add body. If you want to use short-grain brown rice, you will have to parboil it first. Heat a pot of water to the boil then add brown rice. Cook for about 15 minutes, then drain. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed. In this way you can convert recipes from white rice to brown.

1 T vegetable oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1 – 2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste, optional
8 – 10 c sliced curly endive; or radicchio; or escarole
7 c broth or stock, divided
1/2 c Arborio rice, or other short grain rice
2 c raw protein, if using
2 c chopped tomatoes
2 c cooked protein, if using
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese, for serving (or other grating cheese)

1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using, and sauté for another minute. Stir in endive and toss to combine with onion and garlic. Add 1 cup of broth and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Uncover and add remaining broth and bring to a simmer. You may want to increase the heat here to speed things up. And rice, lower heat, and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and add raw protein and tomatoes. Cover again and simmer for 5 more minutes, until the rice is tender and the protein is cooked. If using cooked protein, add here. Heat through.

3. Season with salt and pepper, remembering that Parmesan tends to be salty, and serve, with grated cheese on top.