Minestrone Soup with Farro

serves 8 - 10

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
⅔ cup diced onion
½ cup diced celery
1 cup sliced leek, white & light green parts only
1½ cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped red cabbage 
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup chopped zucchini
⅔ cup sliced sweet bell pepper
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
½ cup farro  (or use tiny pasta if you like)
4 - 5 cups chicken broth
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 cup packed spinach, chopped

In a large heavy pot, add the olive oil, onion, celery, leek, carrots and cabbage. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium low heat, stirring the vegetables until slightly soft.  

Add the rest of the ingredients except the spinach and only 4 cups of broth.  Break up the tomatoes with your hands as you add them. (if using tiny pasta, add the pasta during the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking). Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste and check for seasoning, adding more sea salt if desired.  Add the spinach and cook for 10 minutes. Check seasoning again. If too thick, add more chicken broth.

This soup is even better if you can make it in the morning, let it cool and refrigerate and then rewarm just before serving.  

Grate Parmigiano cheese on top to serve if you like.  We like it!

The Italian Dish