Farro and kale minestrone is a warming soup that you will love to cozy up to in the colder months. It makes great leftovers and goes great with some crusty bread for dipping.
Minestrone is a style of Italian soup that varies in its ingredients from region to region. This farro and kale minestrone soup recipe utilizes winter vegetables and uses farro (an ancient grain) instead of the traditional pasta which is more commonly found in the northern areas of Italy. It is a winter minestrone.
Using farro in this winter minestrone soup recipe:
If you are always looking for recipes with farro then this recipe is perfect for you. The farro that you need for this soup is a pearled farro. If you are not familiar with pearled grains it just means the outer layers of the grain has been removed making the cooking time extremely fast.
Most farro you will find in the store should be a pearled farro even if it does not say anything on the package. If you are purchasing farro from a local wheat mill then it may not be pearled.
The difference between pearled and not pearled is the pearled version will cook in about 30 minutes or less. The non pearled version will take hours if not a whole day!
What type of kale to use for this soup:
There are many different type of kale that you can buy at the store and for this recipe any of them are fine. The picture above is a curly kale that I purchased at a local farmers market.
I often use a smoother kale known as lacinato kale. Both have worked just fine and both hold their shape beautifully in the soup.
While delicious on it’s own, these soups are always best when served with a nice crusty bread for dipping into the soup! If you cannot find farro then a small tube pasta shape will work too.
Farro Kale and Minestrone Soup
- 1 1/2 cup of fresh not canned cranberry beans. If you can’t find these beans then pinto or kidney beans will work.
- 4 ounces of diced pancetta
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small onion diced
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 4 carrots peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 1 large bunch of fresh Kale about 3-4 cups cut of the stems and course chopped
- 1 cup of tomato puree
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 cup of pearled farro this is a very fast cooking farro
- Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
- In a medium pot add your fresh beans, thyme, and rosemary and pour in enough water to cover your beans by 1 inch with the water.
- Bring this to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Let the beans simmer for about 30-40 minutes until they just start to get tender. Then set aside.
- In a large heavy bottom pot on medium heat, add your olive oil, pancetta and your red pepper flakes. Saute for 5 minutes to lightly cook your pancetta.
- Now add your garlic, onion, celery and carrots and saute for about 3 minutes until they just start to soften.
- Now add your chicken stock to the pot and mix well.
- Next add your tomato puree, farro and all of your beans and their water to the pot.
- Mix this all together.
- Add your Kale and let simmer on low heat for another 15-20 minutes or until the farro is soft but still has some chew.
- Season your soup with salt and pepper. Beans soak up salt so make sure to season well!
- Ladle into soup bowls and top generously with freshly grated Parmesan and crusty bread on the side.