Farro, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

If you haven’t met farro yet, let me introduce you.

Farro is an ancient grain with long-ago origins in western Asia. It has an earthy, nutty flavor and a chewy texture that works well in everything from winter soups to hearty salads.

Italian cooks have enjoyed this grain for years, and it’s beginning to catch on here, too. Give it a try in this hearty, but easy, meal of cooked farro, sautéed mushrooms, and greens!

Farro with Mushrooms and SpinachAs farro’s popularity has grown, it’s become easier to find it in stores. Look for pearled farro (perlato), which is quick-cooking.

Be sure to read the package carefully when buying. Other grades of the grain are only semi-pearled or whole, and these retain the tough husks and take longer to cook, sometimes requiring an overnight soak in water. (Also, don’t confuse farro with spelt, which looks very similar.)

If you can’t find the quick-cooking variety, just be sure to follow the package directions and adjust the cooking times accordingly.

Also, FYI, farro is a kind of wheat, and therefore not suitable for anyone with wheat sensitivities.

On to this recipe! A warming bowl of farro with mushrooms is one of my favorite dishes when the snow piles up outside. I make it a little soupy, like a cross between a stew and a risotto.

I love it for lunch on its own, or as a simple supper topped with a poached or fried egg. You could also serve it alongside roast chicken.

Farro, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, sliced (such as white mushrooms, crimini, Portobello or shiitake)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups pearled (quick-cooking) farro (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Extra Parmesan (for garnish)

Method

1 Cook the mushrooms and scallions: In a stockpot or large saucepot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their juices and turn golden brown.

Stir in the thyme, soy sauce, and scallions, and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Farro with Mushrooms and Spinach

2 Add the farro, wine, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced.

3 Stir in the stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until the farro is tender (taste one of the grains to check). Uncover, turn the heat up to high, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the liquid to the consistency of a thick stew. (If the farro looks dry, add a little more stock at this point.)

Farro with Mushrooms and Spinach

4 Stir in the spinach and parsley. Cook for 30 seconds, or until the spinach wilts. Stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Taste, and season with more salt and pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle a little Parmesan on top.

Farro with Mushrooms and Spinach

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of two cookbooks (Food for Friends and The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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Farro with Mushrooms and Spinach

Showing 4 of 10 Comments

  • Sahar

    This recipe looks tasty, but my husband loathes mushrooms. What could I substitute instead that would work well with farro? Thanks!

  • charlie

    Farro, how did i ever live before i met you? jokes aside this recipe looks truly enchanting! i’m going to try it next week.
    love
    charlie xx

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    I use farro quite often in soups. It is healthy and very tasty. I love its texture.
    Great soup!!

  • Sara @ Last Night's Feast

    This looks delicious!

  • Susan O.

    For those of us who don’t use alcohol, what do you recommend as a substitute for the white wine? More broth?

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