(Ike Delorenzo for The Boston Globe)
November 11, 2009

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Serves 8

The best sausage to use for this is cacciatorini (a dry, aged, spicy salami of pork and beef) or salsiccia Napoletana piccante (an excellent dry sausage from Naples). I normally use thin, dark-colored pepperoni. Grate it on the large holes of a cheese grater. Simmer the soup with Parmesan rind, which flavors the whole pot.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound dry salami or pepperoni, grated with a large-hole cheese grater
2 packages (32 ounces each) chicken stock
Rind of Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)
3 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed with cold water
2 heads escarole or 1 head escarole mixed with dandelion greens or other greens, coarsely chopped
1/4teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed
Freshly grated Parmesan (for serving)
1. In a soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Cook the garlic, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the salami or pepperoni and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until it begins to render its fat.

2. Add the chicken stock and cheese rind, if using. Simmer for 15 minutes.

3. In a bowl with a fork, mash about 1 cup of the beans; set aside.

4. Meanwhile, in a steamer over boiling water, steam the escarole and other greens for 5 minutes. Add the escarole, red pepper, and cannellini beans (mashed and whole) to the pot. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes more.

5. Add the spinach and cook 5 minutes more or until it wilts. Remove the cheese rind, if using. Taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt or red pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan. Ike DeLorenzo