Gluten-free, Soups, Stews and Sandwiches, Travel, Vegan/Vegetarian

Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style

Loreto November 21, 2016

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Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style, inspired by a cooking class done in Tuscany, Italy, featuring a grain, Farro, that is both flavorful and has a bit of toothiness to it. Combine that with a great vegetable broth, white navy beans and mirepoix, and we have a wholesome and comforting dish!

Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style

Farro and been soup, Tuscan style, beginning with a great mirepoix, your classic celery, carrots and onions, some spices and these flavor packed white navy beans and farro, and some home made croutons, and you have the makings of a delicious and scrumptious winter soup.

 

 

This year we decided to spend a lot more time in Italy, and while we were there we took a trip to Tuscany where we would do a day course offered by a fellow Italian blogger, Giulia of Jul’s Kitchen. Imagine being in the countryside of Tuscany, rolling hills, grain fields, and the idea of just how many organic foods are produced here, and spending time learning the culture from a true native who grew up in the area, sharing her knowledge with a group of us, exciting. Pulling up to a beautiful rock farm house, a huge white dog welcoming committee and Jules waving from the upper window welcoming us in with such warmth. Nicoletta and I were very excited to get started and meet other fellow international bloggers and foodies. The yard was spectacular overlooking a vast area of land, some olive trees, and I could not help but notice a wood fired oven. It has always been a dream of mine to build one. I love the smell of the wood burning, the flavor of the food cooking in there, and not to mention, Pizza nights would be at a whole different level. One day, one day…………………..

Now back to our story.

This particular class was showing the recipes from a style known as La Cucina Povera (kitchen of the poor). This particular style of cooking teaches how to make meals that are very substantial, filling, and very economical. The recipes chosen for this class were: appetizer croutons, one flavored with curry and another with garlic, and olive oil, pappa al pomodoro, a green been and beet salad, braciole which are a beef fillet double egged and breaded then fried and lastly stewed in a tomato sauce (coming soon to our blog), an amazing torta di pane (bread torte), and lastly this wonderful Farro and Bean soup. I loved being in that studio kitchen chopping carrots, onions, and celery. It is one of my favorite things to do as far as prep work. I remember getting a slap chop once and I think I only used it once, missed all that chopping technique. Now it rests in the kitchen gadget grave yard. The best part of the class sitting down to a family style dinner, wine in glass and a quick salute (cheers), and the sound of forks and spoons clanging began. The food spectacular, the people amazing, the ambiance surreal, and the great white dog, majestic, also a foodie, he kept trying to slip into the kitchen but sadly was removed right away.

So wanting to share what we learned, here is:

The making of La Cucina Povera: Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style.

Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style

Even in Tuscany the base of a great soup is a mirepoix. In this particular dish at the class we used some lardo in the base, a type of bacon let’s say with a rich fat and salt and herb cured from a region in Tuscany called Colonnata. We opted not to use any meat and make it vegan user friendly. I love that smell of  the combination of celery, carrots, and onions, sauteing with some herbs, salt and pepper, always an aroma awakening the senses of hunger for me, and one that brings back many memories from going to find old chickens at the city center market, to waking up on some Sunday mornings to a soup broth that had been cooking for hours and would bless us at the Sunday lunch table. The carrots were graciously given to us by my parents who are amazing produce gardeners, and we are the recipients of many a produce from greens, to peppers, tomatoes, etc. Lucky we are!

Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style

The white beans and vegetable broth bouillon, we purchased from Barb’s Kitchen, a store in the south end of Edmonton, which is filled with everything and anything kitchen related, plus an area for some dried foods such as these dried white navy beans, and vegetable broth. This store is amazing and very dangerous to the pocket book, especially for us bloggers, but I do recommend checking it out, you won’t be disappointed.  The farro was bought in Italy, at Eataly,  and traveled back with us in our luggage, among a plethora of other products, that we savor slowly as not wanting to let go of that great Italian taste and experience. So with all the ingredients at hand we can get started on making this Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style!

The prep goes something like this:

  • Place dried beans in a bowl cover with water and let soak over night.
  • Chop up carrots, celery, onions.
  • In a nice heavy soup pot heat up some olive oil, toss in veggies (mirepoix) and saute till onions become translucent.
  • Drain the white beans and drop into pan with mirepoix. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and stir well.
  • Pour in water, cover and let simmer till beans are to your textured liking.
  • Remember to stir occasionally as the soup cooks.
  • Take some day old bread, cut into cubes, place in a bowl.
  • Drizzle in some olive oil, garlic, herbs of your choice, salt and pepper, and toss.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a pre heated 375° F oven till nice and golden brown.
  • Ladel soup into a bowl, top with some of the croutons, and you are ready to chow down on this wholesome Farro and Bean Soup.

The flavor is amazing, the broth rich in starch and veggie taste, slowly simmered and intensified in flavor from the concentrated heat and time. The beans wonderful, not over cooked but just a nice slight crunch with that salty starchy flavor and the Farro complimenting this texture wonderfully with its almost barley taste and contour. The carrots, many of them, sweet, with those onions beautifully caramelized and evident in each mouthful. The the icing on the cake, the croutons, nicely toasted offering a wonderful crunch to every spoonful of Farro Bean soup, releasing the olive oil, salt, and herbs, to mingle with the vast flavors of the soup.

This Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style, is a perfect wholesome, hearty, meal, which would be great to have after shoveling snow in the briskness of winters clutches, melting the frost off your face and warming your hands as you grasp the sides of the bowl and deliver a spoonful of this soup into your mouth. As it slowly runs down your throat warming you from inside out leaving you with that oh so comforted feeling.

Enjoy!

Song of the Day: “Over The Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin, a true classic!

Print
Farro and Bean Soup

Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup carrots diced
  • 3/4 cup celery chopped fine
  • 3/4 cup onions chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups dried white navy beans, soaked in water over night
  • 1/2 cup farro
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups of lukewarm water

Croutons:

  • 2 cups of day old bread, cubed
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs of your choice (oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy soup pot on med to high heat, heat up olive oil.
  2. Toss in carrots, celery, and onions, and saute till onions become soft.
  3. Drain the white beans and throw into pot.
  4. Also drop in the farro, stir and season with paprika, salt and pepper.
  5. Pour in water, lower heat, stir, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour or till beans and farro are to your textured liking.

Croutons:

  1. While soup is cooking, place bread cubes in a bowl and drizzle olive oil and toss.
  2. Sprinkle in mixed herbs and salt and pepper. Toss again.
  3. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Place in a pre heated 375° F oven.
  5. Cook till nice and golden brown about 10 minutes.

Serving:

  1. Ladel soup into a bowl, and top with some of the croutons.
  2. Ready to serve!

Notes

Remember in the prep time the time allowed for soaking of the beans is not included. This would be done overnight,


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 servings

Farro and Bean Soup, Tuscan style

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10 Comments

  • Reply annika November 21, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Wow! The photos of your cooking course are beautiful. The soup looks gorgeous as well… hearty and delicious… perfect for this time of the year. (We are having our first snowfall here in Montreal today!)

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Annika, thank you for commenting. It was a wonderful experience and Juls was a great host to our group. We would do it all over again. We learned so much about making meals economically without sacrificing flavor. I guess winter is in full bloom and this is a great soup for those cooler days.
      Have a great Wednesday.
      Cheers
      Loreto

  • Reply Dawn - Girl Heart Food November 22, 2016 at 9:42 am

    My husband and I always wanted to visit Italy and I can’t imagine how wonderful it must have been to have been shown cooking techniques by a local. And I love the idea of cooking economically. They say that it’s easy to cook a great meal when you have expensive ingredients, but being able to make humble ones shine takes more work. I love working with basic ingredients like root vegetables and grains. Some of my favourite meals are made out of that stuff. This soup looks so comforting and so perfect as the days are getting cooler. Perfect to have while sitting back with a glass of vino and crusty bread. Love it! Great post 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 22, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Hey Dawn, thanks a bunch for the wonderful comment. It was fantastic to experience a cooking class right in the heart of Tuscany, We feel very blessed and fortunate. You have to get to Italy, I am sure you will love it. Your idea of the wine, soup and crusty bread works for us, great Imagination.
      Have a wonderful week!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply Matt @ RoughEats November 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I’m very jealous about your experiences of cooking in Italy! I’d love to do that one day. The soup is right up my alley. Especially as it has been raining and windy here today, and my stomach is screaming out for a warm hearty soup.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Hey Matt, this would be the perfect soup for a day like your having. I had not eaten farro till I met Nicoletta. I love it, the texture, flavor, and in combination with the beans and veggies makes it that much more delicious. If you want you can render some pancetta or guanciale at the beginning. It will add a nice rustic flavor to the mix. Thank you so much for the comment, and have a great week.
      Happy cooking!
      Loreto

  • Reply Marlene November 22, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    What an experience to take cooking classes in Tuscany – a dream of mine! This soup sounds delicious, and I can imagine the great texture and flavour the farro adds to it.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 25, 2016 at 3:28 am

      Hi Marlene, yes it was a great experience, one we are truly grateful for. Thanks to Nicoletta and being from Italy makes it very possible to experience the country and culture. I am truly grateful! The soup was wonderful, and the farro I am a big fan of now. I love the immense flavor this soup has, one that will be made again real soon.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment Nicoletta and I really appreciate it!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

  • Reply Lee Maddus December 18, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Quite a delightful assortments of delicacies. Very inviting too. Please keep it up!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto December 19, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Thank you Lee, this soup is absolutely delicious and has so many positive memories to it that it makes it an overall pleasurable experience.We love what we do and will continue doing our best to bring great recipes to the forefront!
      Cheers!
      Loreto

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