Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer Tomato, Basil and Farro Soup

Mmm, farro!  Have you tried it yet?  It's a hearty whole grain with sort of a nutty flavor and al dente texture.  I experimented with farro for the first time on the Fourth of July when I made this amazing (no joke) summer salad from the New York Times.  The New York Times must really love farro because a couple weeks ago when I was searching for a soup recipe that would put some of our tomatoes to good use (we have enough to start our own tomato shop) I found this soup on the New York Times website, which called for...wait for it.....FARRO!

Our garden, about 3 weeks ago, looked like this.  Now imagine this same image, times about four.  That's what it looks like now.  It's not really pretty at this point, but it's my recipe inspiration.  The left is mainly butternut squash, and the right side is tomato and green pepper.

Without further ado, I present, the most amazing summer soup.....

Tomato Basil and Farro Soup
Source:  The New York Times
Makes: 6 servings

1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, more as needed
1 cup farro, dried
4 large sprigs basil, stems and leaves separated
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
4 garlic cloves **
1 large leek, white and light parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced **
3 lbs. ripe roma (or other) tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
Black pepper, to taste

**NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet omit the garlic and add the garlic flavor back by using a garlic or Tuscan-infused olive oil.  Also, instead of using leeks use chives (I used ~ 1/2 cup chopped chives. Yum).

1. Pour 8 cups cold water and 1 tablespoon salt into a pot and bring to a boil over high heatLower heat to mediumadd the farro and basil stemsand cook until grains are tender but still a little chewyabout 25 minutesDrainreserving the liquid.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heatAdd the garlic and cook until fragrant and goldenabout 2 minutesStir in the leek and a pinch of saltReduce the heat to medium and cook leeks until softabout 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup reserved cooking liquidBring to a simmer.  Cook until the tomatoes have completely fallen apartabout 30 minutes.
4. Using an immersion blenderblender or food processorpurée the tomato mixture until smooth (you may have to do this in batches). Add half the farro and pulse until the grains are broken down and the soup is a chunky puréeStir in the remaining farroIf the soup seems thickadd more cooking liquidTaste and add more salt if needed (although, it shouldn't be needed!)Ladle the soup into serving bowlsDrizzle with oiltop generously with black pepper and torn basil leaves.
This was my first time using an emersion blender.  It was fun.  I need to put this on my Christmas list (this was my mom's).
Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/6th of recipes
Source: CalorieCount.com
WARNING!  This soup is not low sodium. Nope, not even close.  I would strongly recommend reducing the sodium if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake.  This is actually less sodium than the original recipe (yikes, can you imagine!?). You could also use a salt substitute or add some vinegar to replace some of the salt (the bitterness from the vinegar might bring out some of the saltiness, making it taste saltier than it really is).
Nutrition Highlights:  Excellent source of iron, fiber, and vitamin C

On the night I made this Nick and I had dinner with my parents.  It's always a good sign when both Nick and my dad enjoy something that I've made.  They both gobbled this soup down, and Nick was even happy to take home leftovers for his lunches.  It was truly delicious.  On this particular night we served the soup with chicken off the grill (and some good Columbus Pale Ale, of course).

QUESTION:  Have you tried farro? What about farro in soup? Are you looking forward to soup season like I am? It's right around the corner!

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd


  1. i feel like i have been waiting for this recipe FOREVER since you posted the photo on instagram! i'm soooo excited for this, i will make it this week for sure!!! i even have fresh homegrown tomatoes and basil to use! yay!

    thanks, as always, for the wonderful recipes!!

    1. I'm so glad you're excited about it!! It was definitely a delicious meal, and a soup I will make again and again. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  2. I love farro too! I like that its really nutty and got some good chew to it! Gets you feeling satisfied quickly!

  3. This looks so great Gina, as does your garden. I love this time of year!