Spelt (called farro in Italy) is an ancient, unhybridized form of wheat that adds fiber to this soup.
1 cup uncooked spelt (farro, about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (about 1 small)
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups bottled chestnuts, halved
1 cup diced peeled butternut squash
1 cup quartered Brussels sprouts (about 5 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 ounce shaved pecorino Romano cheese
How to Make It
Place spelt in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above spelt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain; set aside.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, pancetta, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until mixture is very fragrant and beginning to brown. Stir in broth and wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add chestnuts, squash, Brussels sprouts, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in spelt and tomatoes; cover and cook 10 minutes. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; sprinkle evenly with cheese.
I was really surprised at how well all the flavors in this minestrone complimented each other. The pancetta really made it delicious. This was my first time using chestnuts and they were really good in this soup. I added the halved cherry tomatoes after I put the soup into the bowls, so they were nice and fresh, instead of cooked. This would be great for a dinner party.
the perfect soup. the texture of the farro and chestnuts compliment each other perfectly. this converted my roommate into eating brussel sprouts! I'm planning on making this for a fancy 40th bday party dinner this weekend using home made chicken stock.