Minestra di farro

Adapted from Food52 and Great Italian Chefs

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 70 g of pancetta, minced (optional)
  • 1 small brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small celery , finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 600 g of waxy potatoes, peeled and diced (didn’t have — next time!)
  • 300 g of farro, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 7 ounces (or 200 grams) peeled tomatoes
  • 500 g of dried cannellini beans, or borlotti beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed (I used canned)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 4 to 5 fresh sage leaves
  • sea salt, as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide soup pot or saucepan; add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and gently cook until soft and translucent. Add the pancetta and continue cooking until the fat has melted. Add herbs and peeled tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the cooked borlotti beans, along with their liquid. Stir to combine everything and add 2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cook 10 minutes uncovered, then remove from heat. Remove the rosemary stick and blend (an immersion blender is ideal for this) until smooth.
  3. Add the farro to the bean purée (along with another cup of water to loosen it, using more or less as necessary) and continue cooking over low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every now and then to check that the soup is not sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the farro is cooked al dente (with a pleasant bite to it, like pasta). It should be a fairly thick soup but you can add more water to your liking. Check for seasoning.
  4. Serve the soup with freshly ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top.

This came together better than I expected, although I did not soak anything overnight, beans or farro. I used a can of Goya beans in sauce (white beans would have been closer to suitable but I had Green Pigeon Peas in Sauce). I was debating whether to add Latin beans to an Italian dish, but Jesse insisted on including beans in a stew recipe. Pancetta isn’t too shabby as an ingredient, but mushrooms can make such a delicious vegetarian substitute — I highly recommend, so that’s what I used. Also, forgot to add the rosemary until the last minute, better luck next time! Next level: homemade broth.

~Jessica

Leek farro soup (Minestra di farro e porri)

Adapted from La Tavola Marche and Madonna del Piatto

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled farro
  • 6 1/4 cups stock ***Avoid using bullion (or stock) cubes for this! There are only a few ingredients & they should be of the highest quality possible ^_^
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • freshly grated salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin 2 tablespoons
  • sprig of rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
  • parsley, finely chopped (to taste)
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved lengthwise

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the leeks and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Add the farro, pour in the stock (I cooked carrot, celery, parsnip, turnip from a soup greens package), season with salt and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the farro is tender. Season with pepper.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls or a soup tureen and sprinkle with Parmesan & drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Provide toasted Italian crusty bread, rubbed with cut garlic, to mop it up. Also good to have plenty of freshly grated Parmesan on hand, per person.

A former roommate left this bag of Italian farro, so of course I needed to find the perfect soup recipe for the long winter nights.

Cheers,
Jessica