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Tender, chewy farro and earthy mushrooms make this hearty soup a meal in itself. Although it takes an hour to make, most of that is simmering time, during which you can feel free to curl up with a good book and wait for the flavors to meld.
Farro is an ancient grain that is said to have been eaten by the ancient Romans. Italians have used it for centuries. Today, I made a traditional Tuscan soup that I had in a small restaurant in the village of Arcidosso in the hills of Tuscany.
If you have never tried farro, it is similar to barley but with a more earthy taste, which is why it is paired with fresh mushrooms in this recipe. The three different types of mushrooms in this recipe provide a depth of flavor as well as some important nutritional benefits. These include vitamin B, selenium and zinc, as well as a good dose of vitamin D, which is especially important during the shorter, darker winter days.
Farro and mushroom soup is simple, hearty and comforting. Just serve it with slices of Italian ciabatta bread to make a perfect meal for a cold night.
Farro and Mushroom Soup
- 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms finely sliced
- 2 large portobello mushrooms diced
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 cup farro rinsed
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
- In a small pot, boil 2 cups of water. Add the dried porcini mushrooms, cover, turn off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes.
- In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the fresh mushrooms and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the rinsed farro and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken broth, cover and turn the heat to medium high.
- Drain the porcini mushrooms and reserve the water.
- Strain the porcini water with a fine sieve to remove any grit, then add the liquid to the soup.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and lower the heat to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the farro is tender.
- Stir occasionally and add additional seasoning if necessary.
- Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkled with the chopped parsley, with slices of grilled ciabatta bread on the side.
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