The rustic flavors of kale and farro make for a hearty soup. A Tuscan farmwife might add a little bit of prosciutto fat to her battuto (the aromatic vegetable mixture) and perhaps toss in a diced fresh-dug potato to cook with the farro. Try this soup with a soft poached egg on top, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, for a complete meal. (serves 8)
1 leek, white and light green parts only
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped into 1/2-inch-wide strips
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese for serving
Coarsely ground black pepper
Cut leek lengthwise in half and rinse well; coarsely chop. Pulse leek, celery, carrot, onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables and a generous pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup water and tomato paste, and stir into dissolve paste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has almost evaporated, about 20 minutes.
Add remaining 5 cups water, farro, and kale, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until farro and kale are tender and flavors have blended, 20 to 25 minutes.
Season to taste with salt.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a little grated cheese, and a sprinkle of coarse salt and pepper.