Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

~ Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup with Parmigiano ~

Autumn in a bowl sums up this nourishing soup. Sweet butternut squash and sturdy kale team up with farro, an ancient Italian wheat grain, known as spelt in English. Farro is a hulled wheat, which means it retains its husk during harvest. The husk serves as a protective cloak, preserving nutrients and protecting the kernel from insects and pollutants, which permits the grower to avoid pesticides. Rich in protein, fiber and B vitamins, farro has a satisfying nutty flavor which adds heft with health to soups and stews. The final touch in this warming soup is a chunk of Parmesan cheese, which is nestled into the simmering stock, breaking down and releasing umami flavor while thickening the soup.

Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

Either curly green or lacinato kale may be used for the soup. Remove tough ribs from leaves before chopping.

Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup semi-pearled farro
6 cups chicken stock, plus additional stock as necessary
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 (2-inch) chunk of rind of Parmesan cheese
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped green kale leaves
Finely grated Parmesan cheese for garnsih

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the farro and stir to coat.
2. Add the chicken stock, squash, tomatoes, cheese chunk, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the squash is tender and farro is cooked, about 30 minutes. (Add more stock to desired consistency if soup is too thick.) Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
3. Stir in the kale leaves and simmer until the kale brightens in color and wilts, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind and the bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls and pass the cheese for sprinkling over the soup.

25 thoughts on “Farro, Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

  1. It’s definitely fall weather in Toronto. This soup looks delicious, butternut squash is my favourite of all the squashes, and the kale provides a lovely texture in the soup.

  2. Love the idea of placing a chunk of parmesan into the pot. Great textures and flavors at play here, and don’t even get me started on farro.

  3. This is such a hearty and nutritious soup, perfect for the fall. Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe!

  4. Autumn in a bowl indeed! Colorful, flavorful and healthy… my kind of food! I’m marking this and may make this for one of the luncheons I’m catering this fall. Thanks!

  5. I always throw the rind of a hunk of parmesan cheese in my soups as they cook – it’s amazing the subtle parmesan flavor that it imparts! I love both kale and farro, so will definitely make this one soon!! This time of year, I always have soup in the refrigerator!

  6. I’m eating this for dinner as I write this. It’s a make again recipe for sure. I’d never heard of the Parmesan rind thing before, but it makes a huge difference! And that hunk of rind at the bottom of my dish was a treasure.

  7. I had to laugh; out of all the comments here it was the last one that actually *made* this soup. Well, I figured I’d add another comment from someone who made this soup. It is terrific. I’m really enjoying it. The only thing I did differently is omit the leeks (merely because I forgot to put them on the grocery list) and add about 1/3 c quinoa about 15 min. into the simmering process. Just figured, Why not? It came out delicious. Thanks.

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