Monday, April 29, 2013

Saint Catherine of Siena Soup Day

Today is the feast day of Saint Catherine of Siena. She was an amazing woman who lived in the fourteenth century in Siena, Italy~hence the title. Sigrid Undset wrote a terrific biography on this saint that I highly recommend!
My dear friend Annette, during her recent adventure to Italy, brought me back some wonderful gifts, including an authentic Sienese soup mix. I was excited to receive this, and when I realized just what it was, I knew this would be what we eat today for dinner! The mix contains farro which is something I haven't tried before. It also has the Consorzio Agrario Siena label on it which means it can only be made in that region (like champagne only being able to be from Champagne, France).
E 'tempo di zuppa (It's soup time)!

I'll be making this along with some whole wheat bread which I talked about in my previous post.
Here's a yummy sounding farro and vegetable soup recipe from Mario Batali.  Be sure to enjoy something Italian today and ask for Saint Catherine's intercession!

Mixed Vegetable and Farro Soup, from Mario Batali 
and Food & Wine Magazine 

  1. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  3. 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  4. 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  5. 1 cup farro or wheat berries
  6. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  7. 2 quarts water
  8. One 15-ounce can borlotti or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  9. 2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  10. 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  12. 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil
In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the grains are coated and shiny, 30 seconds. Add 1 quart of the water and the beans and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the carrots and the remaining 1 quart of water. Cover and cook over low heat until the carrots are tender, 30 minutes. Add the peas, cover and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, top with the basil and serve.

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