Farro soup with prawns

Farro soup with prawns

Zuppa di farro e gamberi

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
4
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

The idea for this soup came from Pino di Cicco at his restaurant Antica Osteria Da Divo in Siena, where a plump peeled prawn (shrimp) sat curled on top of a warm bath of soup. Giancarlo couldn’t try it as it contains gluten, so I tried to conceal how good it was, but he realised when I ate the very last grain of spelt from the bottom of the bowl that he was missing something really quite special! You can make this soup with quick-cook farro dicocco, in which case cut the cooking time down to 10 minutes once you add the grains. To make it gluten-free, you could use brown basmati rice or quinoa instead, but alter the cooking times accordingly.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the soffritto

Quantity Ingredient
1 medium carrot
1 celery stalk
1 medium white onion
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
freshly ground black pepper
red chilli, finely chopped, to taste
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed with the flat side of a knife but left whole
6 thick parsley stalks, very finely chopped

For the soup

Quantity Ingredient
250g farro
1.2 litres Prawn stock
2 heaped tablespoons tomato puree
2 level teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 large whole raw prawns

Method

  1. Make and cook the soffritto, following the method in the Skills section. Add the farro and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, so that it absorbs the juices from the soffritto. Add 1 litre of the stock and the tomato purée and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes or until the farro is cooked. Add a little more stock or water if the soup looks too thick. Taste the grains to check if they are soft; when they are, your soup is done. Season to taste with salt and a few generous twists of pepper. If you are making it in advance, the grains will continue to swell so when you reheat, simply add more hot stock or hot water as necessary to achieve a thick soup consistency.
  2. While the farro is cooking, prepare the shellfish. Remove the heads from the prawns and peel off the shells (don’t throw them away – freeze them for making prawn stock). Cut a thin incision along their backs and extract the black veins.
  3. Put a quarter of the soup in a blender or through a passatutto (food mill) and return it to the pan. Add the peeled prawns and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the shellfish is cooked through. Divide the soup between 4 bowls, sit a prawn on top of each serving and drizzle with a swirl of good extra-virgin olive oil.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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