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Farro Soup Recipe - Zuppa di Farro

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This hearty soup is especially common in the Garfagnana region, the mountains northwest of Lucca (in part because farro is grown there), but is popular in the rest of Tuscany as well.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 ounces (by weight, 200 g) farro, in whole grains
  • 3/4 pound ripe plum tomatoes (or canned tomatoes, 350 g), chopped and seeded
  • 2-3 ounces (50-75 g) pancetta (smoked if possible)
  • Grated pecorino toscano cheese, or Parmigiano (romano will be too sharp)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • A small bunch parsley
  • Some fresh basil
  • A few sprigs thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 quart hot broth (it can be made with bouillon if need be)

Preparation:

Begin by preparing the farro: Wash it well, picking out impurities such as bits of chaff, pebbles, or bad grains, and soak it for at least 8 hours.

When it's ready, mince the pancetta and sauté it in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, together with the thyme, finely sliced onion, and garlic cloves. When the mixture has browned, remove and discard the garlic, and stir in the chopped tomatoes, parsley and basil. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the hot broth, and once the pot comes to a boil, the farro.

Cook over a low flame for about 2 hours or until the farro is done (taste a grain), stirring often, and checking the seasoning towards the end. Let the soup sit for an hour and serve it warm, with olive oil and grated cheese.

A wine? Colline Lucchesi Bianco would be nice.

Yield: 4-6 servings Zuppa di Farro.

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