On a cool crisp Autumn day nothing is better than a pot of soup simmering for dinner. This is a Tuscan Farro Soup from my Father’s native countryside near Siena. Serves 6
1 Lb Farro – soaked for 2 hours in cold water and then rinsed several times
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive OIL – plus a little extra for finishing 4 Garlic Cloves – thinly sliced
1 Medium Onion – halved and thinly sliced
1 Medium Carrot – thinly sliced
1 Celery Stalk – thinly sliced
6 Sage Leaves – julienned
1 Can (28 ozs) San Marzano tomatoes
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste
6-7 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Pinch Pepperoncini or Red Pepper Flakes – to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and celery and cook until the onion is soft making sure the garlic does not burn. Stir often for about 10 minutes. Add the sage and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes to the pan slowly, squeezing the tomatoes firmly by hand before they enter the pot. Adjust heat to simmer.
In a separate pot, add the chicken broth and drained and rinsed Farro. Let it come to a boil for a few minutes and then carefully stir the tomato sauce Into the broth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 40 – 45 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add the pepperoncini or red pepper flakes. Simmer for a few more minutes. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle each bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil. In our house we also pass the grated cheese. This is best served with thick slices of grilled Italian bread brushed with oil.
WHAT IS FARRO
Farro is a healthy whole grain much like other whole grains such as barley, whole wheat and quinoa but with a slightly nutty flavor and a little chewy. It is very adaptable and can be used in soups, stews and salads. You can also cook Farro like Risotto. Farro contains more protein than most other grains and is a healthy choice because It contains more fiber than other grains. Although it is considered an ancient traditional grain, Farro is not commonly found in most pantrys, but is enjoying a resurgence because of its nutritional aspects. But once you try it, you will enjoy its versatility.