A nourishing soup is a welcome and restorative treat during a busy week. This warming soup is combined with harvested vegetables and grains in a strong tomato-based broth with cheese. Butternut squash and collard greens provide a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants in the dish. Their sweet earthiness balances the acidity of tomatoes. Farro, a nutty ancient grain, boosts fiber and protein. (Barley can be substituted for farro if desired.)
A portion of the cheese rind is a wonderful – and key – ingredient, giving the broth depth of flavor and body. That’s right: the cheese rind will break and release its essence into the broth as it simmers, imparting a lip-smacking umami flavor and thickening the soup. This is an easy no-waste use for any odd bits of cheese stashed away in your fridge. Choose a hard Italian cheese for this recipe, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino Romano.
Chop vegetable soup with fro.
Serves 4 to 6.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise.
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
1 cup semi-pearl farro
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth or more as needed
2 heaping cups diced butternut squash
1 (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 (2- to 3-inch) slice Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped curly green cabbage leaves with any tough ribs removed
Finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for sprinkling
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and fry for about 3 minutes until soft without colouring. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 15 seconds, then stir in the fur. Stir to coat and lightly toast the cereal, about 30 seconds more.
Add the stock, butternut squash, tomatoes, grated cheese, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Break the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and boil them. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover pot, and simmer until squash and farro are tender, about 30 minutes. (If the soup is too thick, add a little more stock.)
Stir in the banana leaves and cook until the bananas are translucent and wilted, about 2 minutes.