Let's Cook with Meg and Ted

Farro and vegetable soup

Farro is an ancient grain, staple of the Roman army, mainstay of Tuscan cooking, yadda yadda yadda. Despite this long history, there seems to be major disagreement as to whether it is the same thing as spelt. This confusion is a bit of a bother, since one grain (usually farro, but sometimes spelt) is said to require overnight soaking then one to two hours cooking, while the other (often spelt, but sometimes farro, sigh) is said to cook in 30 - 60 minutes, without soaking. Then you have the camp who claim that farro and spelt are the same thing, and quote the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute to back themselves up.

The grain I used to make this soup came labelled as farro, and the back of the packet gave a recipe for some meaty thing that implied that it only took about 40 minutes to cook. So I made up this soup and, what do you know, the farro cooked in 40 minutes. I don't claim that this solves the farro-spelt dilemma. My farro might have been misnamed. Maybe I had some special hulled farro. Maybe farro and spelt really are the same thing. Maybe the overnight soaking is just a myth to make people feel virtuous. Who knows. I would suggest that, where possible, you buy a brand of farro with a recipe on the pack and follow what that suggests. Not the way I normally choose produce, but it could be sensible here.

Anyway, farro. Tastes great, sort of nutty, quite like barley, adds a lovely texture to this soup and fills you up like nothing else. Go for it.

1onion, peeled and chopped
3cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2carrots, peeled and diced
3 stickscelery, chopped
800 gcrushed tinned tomatoes
250 gfarro, picked over and rinsed
400 gcooked cannellini beans
1 bunchswiss chard, washed, stemmed and finely chopped

In a large saucepan, heat some olive oil and saute the onion, carrot and celery for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes longer, then add the tomatoes and an equal volume of water. Add the farro and bring to the boil, stirring. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white beans and chard and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste for salt, then serve with lots of freshly cracked black pepper and bread.

Recipe categories

Recent additions

Search www.woolfit.com

Email me