As I usually do for soup, I put my slow cooker to work. I did have to saute the vegs first, but not a big deal - after that initial step I just put the rest in the crock pot - first on high for a couple hours to cook the farro, then I added the beans, cut it back to low, and then finally put it on the warm setting. I also made some swaps, such as cannelloni beans for the pintos, and a red sweet potato for the carrots. I also did not use the peas (didn't think it needed them), and instead of the tomato paste I used a bit of leftover tomato sauce which worked just as well. I also threw in a few cloves of garlic (you can never go wrong with garlic in a soup!). It was very good and hearty, although I did have to add a bit more salt seasoning for my tastes. It was actually better the next day after the flavors blended a little - I also threw in some smoked sun-dried tomatoes as I re-heated it and stirred in a bit of chutney before serving which gave a it a nice kick (I'll often stir a bit of salsa into soup for the same effect). Other suggestions would be to top it with a sprinkle of parmesan or romano cheese, or even some crumbled bacon for you meat lovers!
Here's the recipe from Food & Wine:
Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup
CONTRIBUTED BY MARIO BATALI
· ACTIVE: 50 MIN
· TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 45 MIN
· SERVINGS: 6
Eataly's vegetable counter specializes in vegan dishes—specifically, vegan dishes that people might not suspect are vegan. One is this thick, hearty soup made with a colorful mix of carrots, peas, leek and onion. Mario Batalialso adds borlotti beans and farro, which make the soup hearty enough to be a main course. The crunchy grissinion the side aren't vegan; they're sweetened with honey.
1. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2. 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
3. 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4. 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
5. 1 cup farro or wheat berries
6. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
7. 2 quarts water
8. One 15-ounce can borlotti or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
9. 2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
10. 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12. 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil
13. Juniper Grissini
1. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the grains are coated and shiny, 30 seconds. Add 1 quart of the water and the beans and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the carrots and the remaining 1 quart of water. Cover and cook over low heat until the carrots are tender, 30 minutes. Add the peas, cover and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, top with the basil and serve with Juniper Grissini.
Ripe, fruity Italian Sylvaner.
· FROM PAIRING OF THE DAY: OCTOBER 2010, MARIO BATALI'S PASSPORT TO EATALY
· PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2010