This wonderful soup is made with the ancient grain, Farro. I was able to find it at Whole Foods Market. If you’re unable to locate it, substitute Barley. This receipe also calls for Porcini Mushrooms. If you can’t find them, use your favorite mild mushrooms like cremini mushrooms.
Serves 4. Serve with crusty bread to drink up the broth.
- 3/4 cup farro
- 4 small porcini mushrooms
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 ounces dry white wine
- 4 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 3/4 pound mussels, scrubbed and breads removed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper
- Parsley for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the farro and cook until al dente, about 18 minutes. Drain and spread on a large plate to cool.
Separate the mushrooms caps from the stems. Roughly chop the stems and slice the mushroom caps into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion and whole garlic clove. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until softened. About 5 minutes. Remove and reserve the garlic clove.
Stir in the farro and cook for 1 minute more. Then add 1 ounce of white wine and cook until evaporated. Add the 4 cups of water and tomato paste. Stir to dissolve the tomato paste into the water. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook at this temperature until you are ready to add the mussels.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom caps and stems, reserved garlic, rosemary and a pinch of salt of pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are golden. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet over high heat. Add the mussels, the remaining 1 ounce of white wine and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook covered until just open wide, checking frequently. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Cook until the mussels just open. Transfer the open mussels to a bowl and let cool enough to handle. Discard and mussels that don’t open. Pour the broth that has collected in the skillet into the farro tomato soup.
Set out bowls for serving. Select 3 to 4 large cooked mussels and place in each serving bowls. Divide the cooked mushrooms among the soup bowls.
For the rest of the mussels, remove the mussel meat from the shell and place in the farro tomato soup. Once you’ve separated all the mussels from the shells, pour the juice that has collected in the bowl into the farro tomato soup.
Bring the farro tomato soup to the barest of simmer and whisk in the butter. Adjust the flavoring by adding salt and pepper to taste. Ladle out the farro tomato mussels soup into the prepared dishes that contain the mussels still in the shells and the mushrooms. Top with a few sprigs of parsley or chop the parsley and sprinkle over the soup. Serve with crusty bread.