zuppa di farro

Zuppa di Farro – A Traditional Italian Recipe

zuppa di farroZuppa di Farro

Barley soup

This unusual soup has a very thick and creamy consistency. It is hearty and extremely nutritious, and is a perfect meal for the end of gray winter days. Garfagnana is the area in Tuscany which is famous for it’s barley.


• 3 tbs olive oil
• 200 g barley
• 200 g dried white beans, such as Cannellini or Borlotti; dried beans need to be soaked overnight
• or at least 12 hours
• 1 cup each of roughly chopped onion, celery and carrot
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 large can whole tomatoes
• chopped fresh sage and fresh rosemary to taste
• salt and pepper to taste
• 100 g pancetta/salted pork/bacon (optional)


If using the meat, brown in olive oil before adding the chopped vegetables. When the meat is lightly browned, add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until fairly soft and golden. When the
vegetables are lightly browned, add the chopped garlic and cont inue to sauté until the garlic just begins to colour. Add the soaked beans, the farro, and the canned tomatoes. Then cover all the
ingredients in boiling water, to about 1 inch above the barley mixture. Let the mixture boil gently for at least 1 hour, until the soup has reached a creamy consistency. At this point, add the fresh herbs and the salt and pepper. Continue to cook for just a few minutes to blend these flavors. Some cooks in the Garfagnana area believe that the barley soup is best served on the second day, after the flavours have had a chance to blend even more, and the barley has further softened.

** In the Garfagnana region, it is not uncommon for cooks to add a piece of smoked or salted pigskin to the soup as it boils. Alternatively, it is fine to use alternative pork products such as
pancetta, prosciutto or salt pork. **