How To Make Farro Minestrone

How To Make Farro Minestrone

Farro is a nutty grain traditionally used in hearty Italian soups.

You should be able to find it in health food shops and some supermarkets, but pearl barley or your favourite pulse or pasta could happily be added in its place.

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5½ hours (slow cooker)
  • 50 minutes (stovetop)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
  • 3 rindless bacon rashers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice
  • 140 g (5 oz/2/3 cup) farro, rinsed
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 x 75 g (2¾ oz) piece of parmesan, finely grated, rind reserved
  • 1 large waxy potato, peeled, cut into 1.5 cm (5/8 in) pieces
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
  • 225 g (8 oz/3 cups) finely shredded cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) or savoy cabbage
  • 1 large zucchini (courgette), cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice

extra virgin olive oil, crusty bread and basil leaves, to serve

In the slow cooker

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Cook the onion, garlic, carrot, bacon and celery for 5 minutes until slightly softened.

Add the farro, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat.

Transfer to the slow cooker, along with the stock, parmesan rind, potato, sage and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of water.

Cook on low for 5 hours until the farro is almost tender.

Add the cavolo nero and zucchini and cook for a further 15 minutes until the farro and vegetables are tender.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with the grated parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, crusty bread and basil leaves.

On the stovetop

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Cook the onion, garlic, carrot, bacon and celery for 5 minutes until slightly softened.

Add the farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat, then add the stock, 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) of water and the parmesan rind.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the potato and cook for a further 10 minutes, then add the sage, cavolo nero and zucchini.

Cook for 5 minutes until the farro and vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with the grated parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, crusty bread, and basil leaves.