farro, sausage & rosemary soup
What could be better than a steaming bowl of farro, sausage & rosemary soup when, in between taking daughters to their respective after-school activities, you only have 15 minutes to sit down and grab a bite to eat?
I’ve recently made it a point to always have a big pot of some sort of ‘one-pot meal soup’ on hand during the week because it’s one of the best ways to avoid the pizza and casual restaurant trap.
What I enjoy the most about this particular soup, beside the enticing aroma of rosemary (one of my absolute favorite herbs!) and its deep and savory flavor, is the pleasant chewiness of the farro. It’s so satisfying. It makes you forget that you’re eating something that’s remarkably good for you because you’re just reveling in the experience. I’m embarrassed to say that I only recently started eating this grain…probably because my mom never made it when I was growing up and it just fell under my food radar. Not anymore. My pantry will always have a box of farro now. For soups. Like this one. Or this vegetable and legume version by Mario Batali, which looks absolutely scrumptious, warming and filling. Indeed. That will be the soup of choice for next week’s soup pot. I can’t wait.
making farro, sausage & rosemary soup
The night before you make the soup, soak 1 1/4 cup of farro in a medium bowl of water.
Peel 2 garlic cloves. Slice them each in half and remove their internal green sprout. Combine the prepped garlic with 4 oz. of chopped pancetta or bacon and the leaves of 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary in a small food processor and mix until a paste forms. Set aside.
Drain the soaked farro and place in a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil and add Kosher salt (about 1 TBSP for every 4 cups of water). Add the farro and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer them to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking. Drain well and place them in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a large, heavy-bottom pot on medium heat for a minute and then add 2 TBSPs of olive oil. When the surface of the oil begins to swirl but is not yet smoking, add 1 grated medium yellow onion and 3 chopped celery stalks, along with several pinches of salt (according to taste and preference) and a few turns of fresh-cracked pepper.
Lower the heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, mixing occasionally. Raise the heat to medium-high and add 1 lb. of crumbled homemade sausage or store-bought coarse sausage (without fennel),
and the pancetta (or bacon) paste. Cook uncovered until the sausage is completely cooked and looks gray.
Add 3 TBSPs of tomato paste, 5 roughly chopped carrots, and 6 cups of chicken broth. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, at which all the vegetables should be tender but still firm.
Check for seasoning, adding salt or pepper if needed.
Place a half cup of cooked farro in each soup bowl and then ladle piping hot soup on top. Serve sprinkled generously with Pecorino Romano cheese and accompanied with some nice rustic bread. Makes 6 servings.