(Spinach can be substituted for escarole)
1 T olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups slow-cooked or two 15.5 ounce cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small head escarole or 1 cup packed spinach, coarsely chopped
½ cup ditalini or other small pasta shape
* Escarole is too bitter to cook directly in the soup, so it will need to be cooked separately and added when ready to serve. At the same time you can cook up a small amount of pasta to add to the soup, though, if you prefer, you can add the raw pasta to the soup one hour before the soup is ready to serve.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook additional minute.
Transfer the onion and garlic to 4 -6 quart slow cooker. Add the beans, stock, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low setting.
Cook the escarole or spinach in a pot of boiling water until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a small saucepan of boiling water cook the ditalini until al dente, about 5minutes. Drain and add to the soup, along with the escarole or spinach, just before serving.