Mushroom-Farro Soup With Parmesan Broth
This dish is layered in earthiness and umami thanks to its ingredient list: farro, dried and fresh mushrooms, shallots and Parmesan broth. Farro is a rustic grain, hearty enough to maintain its integrity and stand up to a long simmer. Similar to arborio rice, pearled farro readily releases its starch as it cooks, thickening the broth and marrying the ingredients in a blissful union. A pinch of fennel pollen at the end is a classy move, though absolutely not mandatory.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1cup pearled farro
- 1ounce dried mixed mushrooms or dried porcini mushrooms, roughly torn or chopped
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1cup minced shallots (from about 5 medium shallots)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3garlic cloves, minced
- 5cups Parmesan broth
- ⅓cup dry white wine
- 5fresh thyme sprigs
- ⅔cup finely grated Parmesan (about 1 ounce), plus more for garnish
- 1pound mixed fresh mushrooms (such as beech mushrooms, hen of the woods or oyster mushrooms), roughly torn
- 2teaspoons sherry vinegar
Step 1Heat oven to 300 degrees and bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Spread farro out on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice to toast the grains evenly.
Step 2While farro toasts, place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover completely with 1 1/2 cups hot water from the saucepan. Cover the bowl and set aside to hydrate.
Step 3Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots and 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, adding a splash of water if necessary to prevent it from scorching.
Step 4Stir in the toasted farro. Carefully scoop the dried mushrooms from their soaking liquid and add them to the pot. Strain their soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into the pot as well, discarding any grit left in the sieve. Add Parmesan broth, white wine and thyme to the pot and bring to a boil over high.
Step 5Once liquid boils, lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue to cook at an active simmer until the farro is al dente, swimming in a lightly creamy broth, another 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard thyme stems and stir in the grated Parmesan. Season with black pepper to taste.
Step 6When the farro is almost done, cook the fresh mushrooms: Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add half the torn fresh mushrooms, stir to coat, then cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then cook until the mushrooms are golden and caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a medium bowl. Repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining fresh mushrooms, transferring cooked mushrooms to bowl. Stir 2 teaspoons vinegar into cooked mushrooms; season to taste.
Step 7To serve, ladle soup into shallow bowls. Top with seared mushrooms and extra Parmesan, to taste.