Heat extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a large pot or Dutch oven
over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta
a couple of minutes, then add the onions
and sliced garlic and potato - if you prefer pasta, add later when you reheat the soup. Season the onions, garlic, and potatoes
with salt and pepper and add a bay leaf
. Cook to soften, and then add the escarole to the pot and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, cover to wilt. Stir in the cannellini beans and stock plus 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a rolling simmer
Meanwhile, douse bread with milk to soften. Place ground meats in bowl. Season the meat with salt and pepper, fennel, paprika
, crushed red pepper, cheese, and parsley. Add the yolk to the bowl, squeeze the milk out of the bread and crumble to add to the meat. Drizzle
with extra-virgin olive oil
and roll meat into walnut-size balls, then add to soup and poach
until cooked through.
Cool completely and store soup for make-ahead meal. To reheat the soup: Place in a covered pot and bring to a boil, add the pasta
to cook to al dente
if you prefer the pasta to potato. Serve soup
in shallow bowls with shredded cheese
on top and an extra drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Crust up some bread in hot oven while soup reheats for mopping.