Ancient grains form a very important part of the Tuscan diet. The pasta here is rarely made from highly refined modern flour, and ancient grains such as farro, orzo, kamut and polenta (coarsely ground cornmeal) are seen frequently in home cooking. These are pillars of the Mediterranean diet and when combined with seasonal vegetables, couldn’t be better for you.
This recipe can take a different form depending on what you have in the fridge, or what season you are in, but the concept remains the same. When served with new season extra virgin olive oil, it is lifted to a new dimension, we urge you to try it!
For 4 people
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 leek, diced
3 carrots, diced
4 stems of cavolo nero, remove the woody stem and finely slice
250g organic farro, or spelt, rinsed
2 litres water
Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Seasoning to taste
If you’ve never cooked farro before, this recipe is a good way to start. The one thing we recommend is to go for the highest quality version you can find, seeking out organic if possible.
Begin by dicing all of the vegetables apart from the cavolo nero and then put them in a deep saucepan with a teaspoon of rock salt and a generous glug of Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil (equivalent to 3 tablespoons). On a low heat, keep the vegetables moving for around 3-4 minutes and then add the farro, turning in the oil to coat completely.
Allow the farro to warm for a minute and then add the 2l water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
It is a good idea to check and adjust seasoning after these 20 minutes as well as adding in the cavolo nero. Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
Serve immediately with a generous swirl of olive oil. The farro should retain a slight bite, as should the vegetables.
This soup is wonderful accompanied by a glass of Montecalvi Chianti Classico 2021.