A truly Italian autumn soup made of farro (aka pearl spelt), porcini mushrooms and chestnuts. It also calls for speck, a cured meat typical of Alto Adige and Austria. But you can easily replace it with prosciutto or bacon if you can't find it.
500ml vegetable stock
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 clove garlic
2 fresh sage leaves
50g speck, sliced in short strips
400g fresh porcini mushrooms, cubed
200g cooked chestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato passata
salt and pepper, to taste
1 sprig fresh parsley, finely chopped
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Directions Preparation:15min › Cook:45min › Extra time:30min › Ready in:1hour30min
Soak the farro in water for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain and place in a saucepan. Cover generously with fresh water, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. (If using precooked farro, follow instructions on the package.) Drain and set the farro aside.
Warm up the stock in a large saucepan.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then add the garlic, fresh sage and half of the speck. Sautè for a few minutes, then add the porcini mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove garlic and sage and stir in the chestnuts. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the passata to the pan and 4 to 5 ladlefuls of vegetable stock. Cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the farro and cook on low heat 20 minutes longer. The soup should gently simmer; if too thick, add some hot water.
In a small pan, fry the remaining speck in a drizzle of oil until crispy.
Once ready, distribute the soup between 4 bowls, add remaining speck and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and serve.
To clean porcini do not wash with water. With a small knife cut off the dirty bottom, then take off any remaining dirt with a vegetable brush or a dump cloth. If fresh are not available, using 20 to 30g of dried porcini. Soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then squeeze off water and pass through a sieve. Use some of the water for cooking the soup.
Make your own vegetable stock, in 600ml of water, cook 1 carrot, 2 celery sticks and 1 onion. Simmer for about 20 minutes.