Tuscan Bean Soup

 

serves 6
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5 cups dried white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern, soaked in water overnight
6 cups Chicken Stock
15 ounce can plum tomatoes, San Marzano preferably
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3/4 cup farro
Olive Oil for drizzling
Grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano for grating or shaving for garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the vegetables and garlic and saute slowly, about 7-8 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pot with the stock. Break up the tomatoes a little with a spoon (I use my fingers) and add to the pot with the rosemary. Raise the heat a little and bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until all the beans are tender, about one hour. Discard the rosemary.

Meanwhile, cook the farro in a small saucepan with water to cover and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside. Take an immersion blender (please get one if you don't have one and save yourself a lot of trouble) and insert into the soup and puree. I like to puree it just until it's thick and you have some small chunks of the bean left, not until it's perfectly smooth. You can puree further if you like. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, blend and then transfer back to the pot. Add the farro and reheat gently. Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and shave Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese on top. Serve immediately.