Supermodels? Check. Apple orchards? Check. Laura Ferrara's Instagram feed is a beautiful mash-up of fashion and food, thanks to her dual career as a stylist for fashion magazines, such as Glamour and Allure, and owner of Westwind Orchard in upstate New York. Needless to say, her contribution to the new Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook—an escarole and bean soup with polenta—is not only gorgeous, but filled with fresh ingredients and delicious, too.

The soup could not be easier to make—it's ready in less than half an hour and includes just seven ingredients. You start by sautéing garlic in olive oil. Once it's fragrant, you add a pound of chopped escarole, a leafy green of the chicory family that's bitter when raw and mellow when cooked. After the greens wilt, you add water and salt (hooray for simplicity!) and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in a can of cannellini beans, a smattering of ground black pepper and red-pepper flakes and cook for another five minutes. At this point, the soup is ready to be devoured—but Ferrara has a somewhat unexpected accompaniment that takes the meal from solid to so good.

Instead of serving this hearty soup with the usual hunk of crusty bread, Ferrara ladles it over polenta, an Italian take on cornbread that's part pudding/part bread, so each spoonful has a decadent combination of beans, greens and slightly crunchy polenta. You can prepare the polenta before the soup, and let it sit at room temperature until you're ready to eat—the process for making it is just as simple and straightforward as it is for making the soup. Whisk together water and cornmeal, and cook over low heat for 45 minutes, until thick. Pour the mixture into a square or rectangular pan and let it sit until the polenta firms up and you can cut it into slices.

When it's mealtime, place a piece of polenta in each bowl, spoon the soup on top, drizzle with some olive oil and grate Parmigiano-Reggiano over the entire thing. It's a heartwarming and homey meal that anyone—from fashion plates to farmers—will be happy to tuck into.

Get the recipe: Escarole and Cannellini Bean Soup with Polenta Slices


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