Farro Pharaoh, I Might Just Let You Go
This soup made a hearty winter dinner, but in cooking with farro for the first time, I was disappointed. Why did I buy the imported Italian grain that was virtually indistinguishable from the soft white wheat berries I already had at home. Spelt is also very similar to farro. So if you can’t find it, don’t sweat.
Barley is also a suitable substitute.
Any positive or negative experiences cooking with farro to report? Dan said he preferred a pasta=laden minestrone and that the cauliflower overwhelmed the dish. It’s a tangy, hearty soup that’s greatly enhanced with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano.
Here’s the recipe:
Zuppa Di Farro/ 8 servings
2 cups dried cannellini beans (I substituted canned white beans and added them near the end)
10 cups cold water
1 ham bone (optional)
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 slice pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 small parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (14 ounces) diced tomatoes in puree
1 cup farro
1 cup 1 1/2-inch cauliflower florets
1/2 bunch (4 ounces) Lacinato kale (I substituted collard greens)
One 4-inch sprig rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan chese, for garnish
1. Pick through the cannellini beans and rinse well. Put the beans in a large bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain the beans and transfer them to a large soup pot. Add the water, ham bone, bay leaf, garlic, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the beans still have a little bite, about 30 minutes.
2. Heat a large saute panover medium-high heat. Add the oil and pancetta and cook until the pancetta begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, parsnip, celery, and sage. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion becomes translucent, about 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping to loosen any browned bits. Pour the mixture itno the beans.
3. Add the tomatoes, farro, and cauliflower to the beans and simmer gently until the beans and the farro are tender, about 1 hours.
4. Tear the sturdy ribs and stems away from the kale leaves and discard. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces; add them to the soup and cook for 15 minutes. Add the rosemary to the soup and stir. Steep for 1 minute, then remove the sprig or the flavor will overwhelm the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve, passing the Parmesan separately. when you store the leftovers, the farro and beans will absorb most of the liquid. Add stock or water when you reheat.