May 14, 2019

Farro (Spelt) and Sausage Soup - Zuppa di Farro e Salsiccia

Recipe:

Zuppa di Farro e Salsiccia - Farro (spelt) Soup with Sausage

Farro - Spelt is one of the most ancient whole grains known to man. The earliest cultivation of this power grain is known to have been common in Mesopotamia, but it was also found in the tombs of Egyptian kings, and became the Roman legions' diet as they were fueled by this grain. It quickly spread throughout the Roman Empire and in many areas of the ancient world. Although over time it disappeared, this grain survived over the centuries in Italy. Today it is vastly cultivated in several parts of of the peninsula, but more specifically in Garfagnana, Tuscany.

Farro is a grain loaded with proteins, rich in fiber and iron. As a wheat grain, it is not gluten-free. Interestingly farro is almost completely fat free making it a perfect choice for a healthy heart choice diet. This small grain has a delicious nutty flavor and when cooked, each bite is accompanied by a very pleasant chewy texture.   

Farro is a very versatile grain as it can be prepared as a "risotto", accompanied in soups, made into flour, prepared as a cold salad or simply made into a very nutritional and delicious side dish, drizzled with good olive oil.  

Supplies:

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams Farro or spelt (Spelt is not exactly the same as the Italian Farro, but you can use it if you can't find farro). More is explained at the end of the blog.
  • 270 grams red beans
  • 450 grams Italian sausage (preferably without fennel seeds)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 onion chopped - white or red
  • 3 cloves of garlic in camicia - with the skin on
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 5-6 sage leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (about 3 inches long)
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes - these can be omitted or more can be added
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 liters of water or broth
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Soak the beans in cold water overnight, if you use dry beans. If using canned beans, make sure to rinse them well.
  2. Remove sausage from casing and shape into small rounds.
  3. Preheat the large skillet in the oven. Drizzle with olive oil and place the chopped up onion into the pan.
  4. Add the hot pepper flakes and the "aglio in camicia" - garlic with the skin on, and place into the oven to caramelize.
  5. In the meantime boil the water or broth.
  6. Add the farro, sage leaves, rosemary, halved tomatoes, cubed potatoes, and the beans. Place the covered pot on one side of the oven.
  7. Take the skillet with the onion mixture out of the oven, and add the sausage rounds. Place back into the oven and brown the meat well.
  8. Once the meat is nicely browned, transfer it into the pot with the farro and the rest of the ingredients, as shown in the video. 
  9. Simmer the soup with the lid half way covered for about 35-40 minutes or until the farro's texture is nice and chewy.
  10. Serve immediately with a generous drizzle of olive oil.  Enjoy! 

Buon Appetito!

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    Interesting question:

    Are Farro and spelt the same thing? There are many opinions and ideas as to the difference between the two grains. Following is what we have concluded. We would love to hear your opinion. In Italy this ancient wheat is classified in three groups. Commonly they are known as:

    1. Farro piccolo (small),
    2. Farro medio (medium), and
    3. Farro grande (large). 
    • Triticum monococcum (einkorn) Farro piccolo - the most ancient wheat - grows on a very small plant, with small leaves and a small, soft grain.
    • Triticum dicoccon (emmer) Farro medio - is the species that is more diffused in the Mediterranean area and the plant and seed are larger in size. 
    • Finally the Triticum spelta (spelt) Farro grande - is more widely used in the northern part of Europe and US and the seed is more adapt to making flour.