Farro & Cannellini Bean Soup (Italian-Tuscany)

Farro Wheat

Farro Wheat

Among the Northwest’s earliest Italian immigrants who arrived in the 1870s were the families of Seattle’s George Colello, and Pasquale Sturno and Joseph Tachi of the Walla Walla Valley. Colello was among the first Puget Sound vegetable farmers to supply Pike Place Market, founded by fellow Italian Joe Desimone. Although the farro wheat listed here is often marketed as a specific heirloom variety, the Italian term may also refer to the ancient grains einkorn and emmer. Our European friends say the olive oil is essential!


2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cups chicken broth         

1 quart water

6 sage leaves             

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons salt            

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 lb. dried Cannellini or white navy beans

2 onions coarsely chopped

8 carrots cut into half-inch pieces

1 lb. kale leaves coarsely chopped

1 cup farro/emmer    

1 smoked ham hock

3 garlic cloves finely chopped    


Cover beans and ham with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans in colander and rinse. Cook onion with oil 4 to 5 minutes in an 8-quart pot over low heat; stir occasionally until softened. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Add beans, broth, water, ham hock, and seasonings. Simmer uncovered about 1 hour until beans are tender. Shred ham hock and add to soup. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.