This soup is real winter comfort food made from pantry staples. Easy and warming, it’s simple to make and can be on the table in an hour. It is packed with nutrients, too, including... protein from the beans and lycopene from the tomatoes. Plus it’s high in fiber — great for digestive health. With this soup, cancer-fighting food equals delicious comfort food.
In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat Add the rosemary and the garlic. Cook until the garlic just starts to color, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle with salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Stir to mix. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and partially cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns transparent and golden-looking and the other vegetables start to soften, about 8 minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato paste, if using, and stir to mix. Cook one minute. Add farro and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes so that it starts to absorb the oil and juices. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to turn an orangey red. Add the stock or water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the farro is just tender.
Add the beans. Cook over a low heat for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans mash easily against the sides of the pan. Take 2 cups of the soup and blend. Return to the pan and mix it in. This will thicken the soup and give it a creamy texture. Serve drizzled with the remaining olive oil and a grind of black pepper.
If using dried rosemary, add 1½ teaspoons only. It is stronger than fresh.
Tomato paste can substitute for canned tomatoes. Increase the amount to 1 tablespoon and add as in step 3. When it has started to caramelize, add 8 cups stock or water.
A piece of Parmesan rind will add an extra flavor. Dice when it’s soft, and return to the soup.