1 package Italian-flavored chicken sausage
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
2 ounces pancetta, sliced and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 heads escarole, washed and coarsely chopped
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 quart chicken stock
2 cans cannellini beans (14 ounces each), drained
Ground nutmeg or fresh grated nutmeg (a couple of pinches)
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1 lemon zested
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for topping (optional)
Fill a deep skillet with one inch of water. Place over high heat and add the chicken sausages and a small splash of EVOO. Simmer the sausages until all the water evaporates, then turn down the heat to medium-high and continue to cook, turning them every so often until the casings are brown and crisp.
Once you have the sausages going, heat a deep, large, heavy soup pot over moderate heat. Add one turn of the pan of EVOO, about one tablespoon, and add the pancetta. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes or until the pancetta is crisp.
Remove all but one tablespoon of fat from the soup pot. Then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, onions, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper and cook until the onions are tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the escarole and wilt them down to fit them into the pot. Add the nutmeg, chicken stock and beans, then turn the heat up to high and bring up to a bubble. Lower heat and simmer for five minutes. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper.
While the stoup is cooking, place the parsley leaves and lemon zest on your cutting surface, running your knife through the parsley until it's well-chopped and the lemon zest is mingled with the parsley. Reserve.
Remove the browned chicken sausages from the skillet and slice. Divide the stoup and the sliced chicken sausages between four serving bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with some to the parsley/lemon zest mixture and some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.