Tuscan Soup

Soup is so underrated. For some reason when one puts in a lot of effort they are wanting more of an impressive end result than a bowl of soup. And let’s face it, it is just so easy to buy a tin of soup for pittance to throw in a microwave and you have a satisfying meal in minutes.

However, just like yesterday’s pork (see yesterdays post) this meal was notched up and enjoyed within half an hour. The soup I cooked was Minestra Garfagnina di Farro (or in English, soup from the mountainous Garfagnana region of Lucca, Tuscany with Farro, an Italian pearl barley).

The soup is a blending together of vegetables: carrot, celery, onion, garlic (which are to be found in most italian dishes)sage and a tin of borlotti beans. I’m all for fresh ingredients, but buying tinned beans saves me a great deal of time! First of all, bring a pan of water to the boil, add salt, pepper and 2 tbsps white wine vinegar and then a good handful of farro, or pearl barley. Fry the vegetables in olive oil until sweating, then add the borlotti beans and a ladle full of hot water. Cook for several minutes, then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once smooth, return to the pan, add some chopped smoked sausage and cook off for another minute whilst you drain off the water from your Farro. Farro, which is really high in protein and rich in vitamins, takes 10 minutes to cook, it should be al denti: soft on the outside and a bit if bite in the inside like risotto rice. Ooh, whilst on the subject, I am a huge lover of risotto so expect one on here in the very near future!

Pour the soup into a bowl, top with a few tbsps of farro. Scatter on some chopped rosemary and add a drizzle of olive oil. This is a thick soup so is very hearty, perfect to combat the cold outside. The smoked sausage is heavenly, and reminds me of my mums mushroom soup, the best soup on the planet! I will blog about it at some point, but I first need to gain the courage as I fear I will never be able to do it justice! Failing that I will just ask mum to cook some and i can just enjoy it, then blog about it. The rosemary gives this a little freshness, and we enjoyed this with some of Emily’s Oat and Linseed bread. A perfect dinner, and the best soup I think I have ever produced. Wow I am getting used to cucina povera (food of the poor)!

That’s it for today folks, happy eating!