This farro soup recipe is a moving target for us. We've made it so many times that we don't really remember what the original was like, we only know that we always like it. Talley's mom started making it too and has tailored it to her taste; now we're getting tips from her. This time we made it with the same goat sausage we used for the grape and sausage dish, but normally we've made it with spicy pork sausage. There is nothing earth-shattering about this recipe, nor is it at all difficult. If you have veal stock, use it – it will turn this otherwise simple, rustic offering into something a bit more luxurious. It is a recipe that begs to be customized, which means you should use the ratios and ingredients below only as a guide. Play around - if you've got some mushrooms, throw them in, or maybe some kale in the final part of the cooking. Change up the herbs, double the sausage, omit the red pepper and by all means, if you try something that makes the soup even better, come back here and let us know.
Farro and Sausage Soup
If you have pearled or semi-pearled farro, you probably won't need to precook it before adding it to the soup, but if you have unprocessed farro, it may help to boil it for 30 minutes or more before adding it to the soup. You want it pretty firm when you add it to the soup, so that it finishes cooking in the soup broth, but you do want the farro to be tender by the time you are serving it. Because farro can vary from brand to brand, it helps to know your product and change up the recipe accordingly. We use Bluebird Grains Farms farro and find that it needs at least 30 minutes of boiling before adding to the soup, and even then, it still has a nice bite in the finished soup. Heat a deep sauté pan or stock pot over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add sausage and sauté until browned, breaking up the sausage into smaller pieces with your utensil. When the sausage is browned, remove it and set it aside, leaving the fat in the pan. Reduce heat to medium and add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook gently for about 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Stir in bay leaves, red pepper, rosemary and/or thyme, large pinch of salt, a few good grinds of black pepper, and reserved cooked sausage, and cook for another minute or so. Add farro and stock and bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the farro is firm-tender. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Talley's mom serves the soup topped with a nice dollop of fresh pesto, and it's delicious. Try it! Serves 3 to 4
- 1 cup farro, soaked for 5 hours or overnight in cold water
- ½ pound spicy Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary and/or thyme
- generous pinch crushed red pepper
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 cups chicken stock, turkey stock, light veal stock, vegetable stock or a combination.