Legend has it that farro soup was used to feed the Roman army. Farro is a healthy whole grain that was a part of everyday life in ancient Rome. It is known as the “mother of wheat” because it is considered to be the ancestor of all wheat species.
Farro is a good source of iron, magnesium, protein, and dietary fiber, and it is easy to digest. It tastes good too. It has a chewy, barley-like consistency, and can be used as a hot breakfast cereal, an alternative filling for rice bowls, or you can add it to soups, stews, and salads.
This farro soup recipe is thick and filling. It is almost like “farrotto,” an alternative to rice-based risotto. If you like a thinner soup, you can add a little more vegetable broth or water to get your desired consistency.
I love this cozy, comforting soup on a cold winter evening served with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
It’s a perfect Mediterranean diet meal because it uses a whole grain with beans, vegetables, herbs, broth, and a tiny bit of meat for flavor. It’s a complete nutritional package. No wonder the Roman Army was so successful.
This hearty farro soup serves 4.
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 small carrot finely chopped
- 1 stick celery finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 4 thin pancetta slices
- 4-5 canned whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can cannellini or borlotti beans undrained
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup farro (semi-pearled or pearled)
- Heat olive oil in a wide soup pot or saucepan. Add onion, carrot, and celery and gently cook until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add pancetta, and continue cooking for 5 minutes until the fat has melted.
- Add tomatoes and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the canned beans, along with their liquid and two cups of vegetable broth.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture back into the pot, and add the farro along with the third cup of broth. Continue cooking over low heat uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir now and then to make sure the soup is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the farro is al dente. Farro has a naturally chewy consistency. It should be a fairly thick soup but you can add more stock or water to your liking.
- Check for seasoning. Serve the soup with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.