Farro Soup


Minestra di Farro ~ This soup is a very traditional soup that can be found across Umbria and is typical of peasant country cooking. Farro soup, chock full of vegetables becomes a hearty meal that can be made by mixing whatever is on hand in the pantry and refrigerator. This soup is traditionally flavored by simmering the grains and vegetables with a prosciutto or ham bone, but if the bone is unavailable the soup is still delicious. I used black Tuscan cabbage in my version, but spinach would work just as well. Any tasty broth works in this recipe, including vegetable, chicken or beef broth. I used beef broth in my version as I had some homemade beef broth in my freezer. The bowl used in the photo is an Italian ceramic one from Deruta in the heart of Umbria.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Farro Soup

A country peasant soup using the ancient grain farro that can be found across Umbria. Use barley in place of farro if you cannot find it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Carrots, Peeled And Diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, Peeled And Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Finely Chopped Greens (Spinach or Black Cabbage)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Farro
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Prosciutto Bone (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Quarts Homemade Broth (See Above)

To Serve:

  • Grated Pecorino Cheese
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil and then add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic.
  2. Saute until tender over medium heat, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chopped greens, prosciutto bone, farro and broth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat, and simmer everything over low heat until the farro becomes tender, adding a cup or two of water as needed if the soup becomes too thick, about 20 minutes. (The farro should be tender to the bite but not mushy, which takes between 25 to 30 minutes of cooking over low heat.)
  6. Remove the prosciutto bone if used, and ladle the soup into individual bowls.
  7. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over each bowl, and pass the cheese at the table.