Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Farro, Asparagus and Pea Soup

Farro is not always easy to find, but it is well worth the search. It is a hulled wheat imported from Italy with a nutty flavor and dense, chewy texture.  Farro holds up extremely well in soup, and combines well with many vegetables.  This soup has been a star at our restaurant this winter, selling out every day it's been on the menu.

At home, we make this soup with parsley and arugula from the garden.  You can use fresh or frozen peas, and the soup can be made as spicy or mild as you like by adjusting the quantity of red pepper flakes.  The first time we served  it, my mouth was on fire but most of our customers thought it was perfect.  This is Texas after all.   The recipe below is for a mild version, but feel free to adjust based on your heat tolerance.

Farro, Asparagus and Pea Soup


1/2            cup            farro
3               Tbs            olive oil
1/2            cup            Italian parsley
1/8            tsp             red pepper flakes
                                  or up to 1/2 tsp if you like heat
4                                 garlic cloves, choped
8               oz              new potatoes, peeled and cubed
4               oz              arugula, stemmed and chopped
1               cup            peas, removed from pods
3                                asparagus spears, thinly sliced crosswise
4               cups          vegetable stock
                                  sea salt and black pepper to taste
                                  optional:  parmesan or feta cheese

  1. Cover the farro with cold water and cook until tender.  This will take at least an hour.
  2. While farro is cooking, saute parsley, red pepper, garlic and potatoes in the olive oil until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add arugula, peas, and salt and pepper to taste.  Season with salt and pepper and saute a few minutes.
  4. Add cooked farro and stock and bring to boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 30 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper again, and (optional) serve topped with cheese and a pesto crostini on the side.


  1. You had me at "asparagus"... :)

  2. I have yet to be able to find farro here and I resigned to the fact that I'll have to do mail order. This soup looks delicious and I love the bowl!

  3. I'd never even heard of farro... shows how popular it is here! Will have to seek it out now.

  4. Sounds fresh and delicious, and I love farro!

  5. How did you know that I have a whole bag of farro in my cupboard, and I've been debating about what to do with it? The debate. Is settled!

  6. Thankfully Whole Foods came to town and we now have farro available when we need it.
    Extra chili flakes and a little feta for me~this is a wonderful blend of flavors!

  7. I haven't ever had farro - would it be where the grains are at a store like whole foods? This soup looks amazing, love all of the ingredients :)

  8. Farro is really hard to find here but I would love to eat them. But this is really beautiful soup.


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