I've been obsessed with making soups recently. They're really just so versatile and simple. I used to hate soups. The thought of chunky soup just made me queasy. But when you add beans, especially big starchy ones like great northern beans, they become rich and thick and hearty. I used farro, which is an ancient grain most closely associated with Tuscany, specifically Lucca. It's a form of wheat that's similar to barley in texture. It can get chewy in the best possible way, especially in this soup. This soup takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to make, but largely unattended. I didn't soak the beans beforehand. If you use canned white beans, this soup would probably only take about a half hour. This recipe has been adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. An amazing cookbook.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, choped
2 carrots, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup farro, uncooked
1 cup dried white beans
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
6 cups water or veggie stock
handful of dried mushrooms (reconstituted by adding a cup of hot water and soaking for 15 min)
1/4 cup any fresh herbs. ( i had some chopped parsley)
Put oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. When hot, add onion, celery, carrots and some salt. Cook until the veggies are glossy and the onion softened, about 5 to 10 min. Add the garlic and stir. Add the reconstituted mushrooms with the soaking liquid (unless the liquid is sandy, then drain) Add the farro, beans, tomato and stock and stir.
Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily. Cook until farro and beans are tender, at least an hour, adding stock or water as necessary if the mixture becomes too thick.
Stir in chopped parsley or basil and cook for another five minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve.
Makes about 4 to 6 servings