Kale and Farro Soup
This is similar to an Italian vegetable soup, only better (and easier) with added nutrients from kale and a quick-cooking and delicious Italian grain called farro. A type of wheat imported from Italy, farro offers a mildly chewy, nutty flavor, similar to barley, which can be substituted if farro is unavailable. To create a vegetarian version add water instead of stock plus two Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 whole leek, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
8 cups chicken stock
2-3 large carrots (about 2 cups), cut in half lengthwise and sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup farro*
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 bunch (about 3 cups lightly packed) kale, stems removed, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to taste
- In a soup pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the leek and sauté until leeks are softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes. Add stock, carrots, celery, thyme, farro and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer soup, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in chopped kale and tomatoes. Bring to a boil again, turn to low and simmer a final 15 to 20 minutes, until farro and kale are tender. Taste the soup and add additional salt if needed and a few grinds of pepper. Top each bowl with Parmesan cheese for more depth of flavor.