Legume and farro soup: this dish makes you rediscover the Tuscan rural tradition.
It is perfect for a cold day. It ‘s simple but very nutritious, because it is made of legumes, vegetables and farro, emmer (see note below). The recipe that I am recommending contains a mix of dried legumes such as beans (cannellini and borlotti), lentils, chickpeas and farro.
To make this dish even tastier, I prepare a soffritto with onion, garlic, celery and carrot. You can top this soup with croutons or grated Parmesan cheese or, if you prefer, you can sprinkle some hot chili olive oil before serving.
This recipe belongs to my book Love is Eating.
ZUPPA DI LEGUMI E FARRO (LEGUME AND FARRO SOUP)
Total preparation time: 7 hours Cooking time: 1 hour Servings: 6
310 g (11 oz) mix of dried legumes (as mentioned above)
50 g (⅓ cup) farro perlato
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into slices
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 potato, cut into cubes
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 sage leaves
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, diced
3 Tbsp tomato sauce
Parmesan rind (1-2 pieces, optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large bowl soak the legumes for at least 6 hours (see instruction on the packages) with the bay leaf. Drain and place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Drain, remove and discharge the bay leaf. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat sauté the onion, the garlic, the carrot, the celery and the potato in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the legumes, mix and cook over high heat for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and the fresh herbs. Cover with plenty of water. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes, add the farro (previously washed under cold water) and the Parmesan rind (scraped with a knife). Complete cooking for about 20 minutes until all the legumes are tender (the exact cooking time for legumes and farro should be indicated on the packages). In Italy I buy a mix of dried legumes, called zuppa del contadino (farmer’s soup). Remove the herbs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Note: When cooking legumes, it is important to add salt only at the end, because the addition of salt at the beginning will make the legumes less tender. It is also important when cooking to maintain a constant temperature. There is some confusion about farro. Spelt (Triticum spelta), emmer (Triticum dicoccum), and einkorn (Triticum monococcum), are called farro in Italy, sometimes (but not always) distinguished as farro grande (big), farro medio (medium), and farro piccolo (small), respectively. Emmer (farro medio) is typical of Tuscany and mainly used in Italy. Farro perlato (pearled farro) is a type of farro that does not need to be soaked in water overnight. -Paola