There has been quite a hiatus in between my last post and this post due to some significant life changes - a new job and a move from the Peninsula to Marin County (all still in the Bay Area). Now that I'm settled and starting the new gig tomorrow, I was finally ready to resume cooking tonight and create something that incorporates my favorite vegetable - fresh english peas. Granted, you don't have to make this recipe with fresh peas (frozen will work fine) but the plump, beautiful peas that are in season only in the spring are worth it if you can find them. I usually buy mine at the farmer's market, but having missed it last weekend, was surprised (and happy) to find them at Whole Foods.
This soup takes a little time to simmer so that the farro can cook, but other than that is very easy to make. I made it tonight and if you're making it on a weeknight, you can always get in a quick workout/run, catch up on some more work, or do something around the house while it cooks.
This dish is also great the next day - the farro will have absorbed more of the liquid so you can either just heat it up and serve it like a risotto or add some water and heat it up if you want more of a soup-like consistency.
Spring Farro and Pea Soup
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow or vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, diced
1 cup farro
1 15 oz. can cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
2 dried or 1 fresh bay leaf
4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1 to 1 1/2 c. fresh shelled english peas or frozen peas (about 1 lb. fresh english peas in their shell)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chop/slice the onion, leek, celery, and carrots. Heat 1 T. olive oil over medium high heat in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Add the onion and leek and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots and celery and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans, farro, thyme, bay leaves and stir to combine. Pour in the vegetable stock, add 1 t. kosher salt and 1/4 t. black pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes.
Add the peas and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper depending on the saltiness/seasoning of your stock.
I recommend garnishing the soup with freshly grated parmesan cheese as it really finishes the dish (I added it after taking the picture).