It seems most of the US is now blanketed in near freezing temperatures. Michigan included. How did this happen so quickly?
Yes, I know it’s November…that the colder temperatures are inevitable. But, really? From close to 60 degrees down to 30 in one day. Really? Ugh…and it looks as if the cold is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
I’m sure my actions in the kitchen on the day of the bottomed out temperatures were much like many others across the country…I made soup. Good soup. Healthy soup. A warm you from the inside out kind of soup.
The chilly, wind whipping days and dark, cold nights this time of year have me craving a warm bowl of goodness. Be it a hearty stew, spicy chili or a Zuppa di Farro…I want it all. I could, and would, eat soup every day…if it weren’t for the meat and potato loving men in my house. There are days, energetic days, where I’ll make both.
Both a meal to please them, and me. That way everyone is happy. Don’t get me wrong… they want soup too. It’s just that they want a cup of soup, as a starter, before the big meal. I want a bowl of soup…as my meal.
This soup is pleasing in both ways. It’s not too heavy, making it first course appropriate. But…downing a bowl of it is satisfying and filling as well. A healthy dose of farro and garbanzo beans see to that! If you abide by a vegetarian diet, simply omit the pancetta (reduce olive oil by about ¼ cup) and utilize a vegetable stock.
Zuppa di Farro
1/2 cup olive oil
5 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup onions, rough chop
1 cup carrots, rough chop
1 clove garlic, rough chop
8 ounces tomato pureé (or crushed tomatoes from can)
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1½ cups cooked farro (drained and rinsed)
1½ cups chickpeas/garbanzo beans (cooked or canned, drained and rinsed)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper
optional: freshly grated cheese, olive oil and toasted bread
- Using a food processor, mince (finely chop) the onion, carrot and garlic. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the pancetta; sauté until lightly browned and crispy.
- Add the onion/carrot/garlic mixture to the crisped pancetta. Stir well, allowing the olive oil to coat the veggies. Sauté until tender.
- Add the tomato pureé/crushed tomatoes, stock and bay leaves; bring to a simmer, reducing burner heat as necessary.
- Add the farro and chickpeas; simmer for 1 hour.
- Season the soup with thyme, salt and pepper; simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
- Serve in warmed bowls. Suggestions: crusty/toasted bread on the side, freshly grated cheese and/or drizzle with a good olive oil.
Recipe adapted from Chef Luciano Del Signore, chef/owner of Bacco Ristorante, courtesy of Savor Michigan Cookbook.