Print
Bowl of Tuscan Farro Bean Soup

Tuscan Farro and Bean Soup

This hearty and complex soup/stew is great for cold weather. It includes a number of vegetables and can be made vegan or vegetarian. 

Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword broth, kale, pancetta, parmesan, string beans, tomato paste
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Laura

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta Optional
  • 1 cup diced carrot About 2 medium carrots or 5 ounces/145 grams
  • 1 cup diced onion About 1 medium onion or 5 & 1/2 ounces/160 grams
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced Alternative is about 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 3-4 pepperoncini peppers, tops removed & chopped
  • 12 large leaves Tuscan or lacinto kale, torn or shredded (see note)
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini or garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or a combination of broth & water, plus more at end if desired to thin out the consistency
  • 1 parmesan cheese rind, about 2-3 inches long Optional
  • 1 cup farro, rinsed and cooked separately
  • 1/2 or more teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven or other pot. Once heated, add the pancetta (if using) and cook it for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta begins to get crispy. 

  2. Add the diced carrot and onion, as well as the crushed garlic clove. Stir to combine the ingredients, and cook the mixture on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Then add the bay leaf (leaves), chopped rosemary leaves, and the chopped peperoncino peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add the torn or chopped kale, stir it into the vegetables and herbs. Then cover the pot and let the kale wilt on low heat for about 3-5 minutes. 

    wilting kale for Tuscan Farro Bean Soup
  4. Stir in the drained beans and the tomato paste. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour in the 4 cups of broth (or broth and water) and add the parmesan rind if using. Bring the soup to a boil, lower it to a simmer, and simmer for about 30 minutes. 

  5. While the soup is simmering, make the farro. (See note.) When the farro is done, drain off any remaining water from the farro and add it to the soup. 

  6. Add freshly ground pepper and additional salt to taste, plus any broth or water required to bring it to desired consistency. 

    a bowl of Tuscan Farro Bean Soup and a piece of baguette

Recipe Notes

The easiest way to cut the onion and carrots is like this:

cutting onion and carrot for Tuscan Farro Bean Soup

Tuscan or lacinto kale is the type with long leaves that are not curly. For all kale, you should remove the tough part of the stem. I like to shred kale by cutting off the thick stem, rolling it into a cigar, then cutting the cigar into thin rounds. To make the shreds shorter, cut each round in half.

how to cut kale for Tuscan Farro Bean Soup

Domenica specified peperoncini, which I think are red spicy peppers. If I had used them, I probably would have done about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Instead though, I used pepperoncini peppers (with 2 "p"s) sold in a glass jar, packed in vinegar and water. They are not as hot as red peperoncini peppers. In terms of taste, they are slightly sweet but also spicy, rather like a spicier version of banana peppers. 

Domenica drizzles olive oil on each portion at the end. I didn't do that, but it sounds like a nice touch.