Farro Beet Soup with Greek Yogurt, Pistachios & Orange Zest

Farro Beet Soup with Greek Yogurt, Pistachios & Orange Zest

I’m obsessed with this farro beet soup with Greek yogurt, pistachios and orange zest. Mr. Italicano is too. He even forgot that that he doesn’t like beets!

This post is sponsored by Poggio del Farro. I created the recipe, photos and video—which you can also find on their website along with many other delicious farro recipes. The writing and opinions are my own.

Really, all food can be great (or bad)—it just comes down to how you prepare the dish. Just take microwaved mushy asparagus vs. melt-in-your-mouth-shaved asparagus.  The first is seriously inedible (actually, flat out gross) the second I can down in a second. I often top my frittata with shaved asparagus or serve it with delicious fresh fish.   You can also use these green veggie curls in place of fettuccine noodles like Lindsey Ostrom does on her blog, Pinch of Yum. Watch out world,  shaved asparagus is going to be the new avocado to your toast.

Now that we got my shaved asparagus obsession out of the way, let’s get back to this amazing farro beet soup. The idea for this recipe came from Maria Speck’s lovely Simple Ancient Grain Book. She makes a bright beet soup with buckwheat and spicy horseradish, while I created mine to incorporate the irresistible flavors of the Mediterranean: a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt, nutty farro from Tuscany and pistachios and orange zest that are symbols of Sicily.

Farro is a staple in my vegetarian/pescatarian lifestyle. It’s a grain that  is high in protein, fiber and antioxidants—you can read more about the nutritional benefits here — and I love it’s subtle nutty taste and firm texture. It’s so adaptable and can be transformed into a healthy salad, homemade pasta, easy crepes, and more.

I get my farro from Poggio del Farro, a family owned company in Tuscany. They are truly “farro specialists.” The passion that they put into their work to make their products made me fall in love with this grain. When I met the owner Federico for the first time I listened as he explained that this business adventure was an act of love for his family and keeping the tradition of cultivating farro alive (many fellow farmers were switching to grains that were easier to cultivate). I’ve been substituting farro for modern refined flours more and more as the reading I’ve done shows that it is a better choice for your health. And, although I don’t have problems with gluten, I like that farro has a different kind of gluten structure than modern grains. In fact, many people with gluten sensibilities (not celiacs disease) find that they can eat this grain without adverse effects. I want to limit health problems in the future by being attentive of what I’m eating today!

Farro Beet Soup with Greek Yogurt, Pistachios & Orange Zest
 
Cook time
Total time
 
This vibrant and healthy farro beet soup with Greek yogurt, pistachios and orange zest incorporates the irresistible flavors of the Mediterranean.
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • For the beet soup:
  • 1 cup (200g) Dehusked Organic Farro
  • 3 cups (700ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 16oz (450g) cooked beets
  • 2-3 cups cold vegetable broth
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • For the topping:
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • Orange zest
Instructions
  1. Add the farro and water to a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil then add the salt and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the red onion and salt; cook until the onions are translucent, but not browned. Now add the garlic and honey and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
  3. In a blender, add: the onion/garlic mixture, beets, 1 cup vegetable broth. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the contents of the blender into the medium sized pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Now that the farro is ready, drain and add to the pot with the beet soup. Add more vegetable broth to arrive at a soup-like consistency. Bring to a simmer on medium heat until warm. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper--the salt really makes the flavor come out. Ladle into bowls. Top with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, chives, pistachios and orange zest. Buon appetito!

This post was sponsored by Poggio del Farro and their delicious farro grains!   I created the recipe, photos and video—which you can also find on their website along with many other delicious farro recipes. The writing and opinions are my own.

Spring Farro Salad

Spring Farro Salad

Spring is officially here! What better way to kick off this season than with a delicious spring farro salad that is easy to make and packed with flavor. Plump chewy and lovely nutty farro grains are the star of this recipe.

Spring-Farro-SaladFarro is an ancient grain high in protein that is grown in Emilia-Romana, Tuscany and other regions of Italy. I really like the farro products from Poggio del Farro, a family owned company in Tuscany. They have a range of products that are delicious, healthy and easy to prepare. Try combining flavorful farro wheat berries with seasonal vegetables and this lemon Dijon vinaigrette and you’ll surprise yourself with how simple it is to prepare a stunning and mouthwatering main course or side dish for your family and friends.

Spring Farro Salad I created this recipe for my cooking shows with Smeg in Chicago and New York City. While Spring had sprung in Italy, little did I know that a snow storm would be heading my way when we landed in Chicago last week! We arrived with sunshine and optimal temps but awoke to a flurry of snow. It was quite a sight. Luckily it was just a one day ordeal and the snow quickly melted in the following days. Thank goodness! I am so over winter…bring on spring and all the good seasonal fruits & veggies, t-shirts and light weight coats and longer days of sunshine.

Spring Farro Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This delicious spring farro salad with lemon and dijon vinaigrette is easy to make and packed with flavor. Enjoy!
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 1½ (300g) cups farro (emmer) grains, Poggio di Farro
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 carrots, chopped or grated
  • 1 fennel, chopped or grated
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup packed organic spinach (1 oz, 30g), chopped
  • 3.5 oz (100g) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 2 tablespoons (6g) chopped chives
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 organic lemon, juiced
  • Zest from ½ organic lemon
  • 2 tablespoon (30g) Dijon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Add the farro and water to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Cook according to the package instructions.
  2. In the meantime, add of the ingredients for the sauce to a bowl and stir.
  3. When the farro is done, drain and pour into a serving bowl. Add the carrots, fennel, radishes, spinach, Parmigiano Reggiano, chives and the sauce. Mix well. Serve warm or cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator and serve cold. Buon appetito!

Here are some photos of the shows in Chicago at Williams-Sonoma , Eataly, Bloomingdales and the IHHS tradeshow . We had a great time in Chicago and are now having a lot of fun at our shows in NYC. If you want to see more photos, check out my Facebook or Instagram pages.  March 26, I will be at Bloomingdale’s NY 59th from 12-2pm and will be making this salad along with beet farro crepes topped with ricotta, blood oranges, pistachios, honey and aged balsamic vinegar. I look forward to hopefully seeing you there!

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon & Ginger

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon & Ginger

Roasted-Broccoli-and-Cauliflower-with-Lemon-and-Ginger-3

 

V.E.G.E.T.A.B.L.E.S.

Oh, how I’ve missed you! While Mr. Italicano and I were on our west coast food tour we spent most of a month eating out while we worked and traveled. On one hand I was excited and delighted to try new restaurants :: ristoranti in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver; on the other hand, I was itching to get back in my kitchen in Italy to create new healthy recipes made from fresh seasonal vegetables from my local farmer’s market.

And, that’s exactly what we did.

The day after we got back to Italy, we headed out to the farmer’s market and loaded up on fresh fish, vegetables and fruit. For our first lunch I made a simple green salad loaded with succulent Sicilian blood oranges, chia seeds, feta and walnuts; this roasted broccoli and cauliflower dish with grated ginger and zested lemon and a big bowl of paccheri pasta with calamaretti :: baby squid, that I seasoned with Parmigiano Reggiano, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest and some salt and pepper. These vegetarian and pescatarian recipes were so quick and simple to make and were packed with wholesome goodness.Roasted-Broccoli-and-Cauliflower-with-Lemon-and-Ginger-1aRoasted-Broccoli-and-Cauliflower-with-Lemon-and-Ginger-2-bOne of the biggest problems about eating out in America is that is EXPENSIVE TO EAT WELL! For a fast food meal made with refined flour, sugars and GMO ingredients, you can spend under $15 for two. If you go to a mid-range chain restaurant with even nice decor and great service, commonly you’ll still pretty much get the same quality but spend over $60 for two dishes and drinks (taxes and tip included). Both options left us unsatisfied with the quality of our food, but more importantly put the quality of our health at risk :: rischio! We went to these places a few times out of convenience, and after having eaten both Mr. Italicano and I felt sluggish, not mentally alert, bloated and scandalized on how much we spent. I’m convinced that if we’d had continue to eat this way for a month, we would have even gained a substantial amount of weight. #notcool. So our solution to getting around eating bad while traveling was this:
BREAKFAST: we snacked on fruit :: frutta, nuts, protein bars (being sure to find ones with clean labels), dark chocolate, tea and coffee. We did our shopping at a supermarket (I recommend Trader Joe’s) and we ate in our hotel or on the road when we were traveling. We spent $7-8 for two instead of $23-25 and we knew exactly what we were eating.
LUNCH: more snacks or leftovers :: avanzi from my cooking shows.
DINNER: we almost always went to a nice restaurant with high quality food (ATTENTION: we didn’t just choose a place based on how cute the decor it was but used online reviews specifically for the quality :: qualità). These places were usually quite expensive. A dinner for two with drinks ran from $110-140 (with taxes and tip). It seems like a lot, but if you do the math, we ended up spending the same amount per day as we would have for three mediocre meals eating out, but we ate better quality food and we felt better too.

Roasted-Broccoli-and-Cauliflower-with-Lemon-and-Ginger-4Now back in my kitchen :: cucina, I’m excited to be developing more recipes to give you more ideas on how to cook healthy and simple recipes that you can feel good about eating, like this roasted broccoli and cauliflower dish. If you have any leftovers just toss them into a salad, add some beans, lentils or tuna for a main coarse or chop them up finely and add them to scrambled eggs.

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Lemon & Ginger
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe for roasted broccoli and cauliflower with lemon and ginger is great to eat as a side dish, tossed into a green salad, mixed with grains, lentils or tuna or cut up finely and mixed into a scrambled egg. It's a healthy dish that is quick to make and loaded with nutrients.
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the broccoli, cauliflower, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, grated ginger, salt and black pepper until well coated. Evenly distribute the vegetables on the sheet and roast until tender and slightly browned; 20-30 minutes.

 

 

Holiday Quinoa Salad

Holiday Quinoa Salad

I’ve never found fresh cranberries in Italy, only dried. Normally it wouldn’t be a problem; after all, I only ever eat fresh cranberries at holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, it’s now approaching 2 years since my last cranberry fix; two years since I’ve been home to the US during the holidays.

What do I love about homemade cranberry sauce? Well, for starters, its bright vibrant red color that brightens the table, then there’s that sudden shock of surprise when a cranberry pops in my mouth releasing its tart juices that slowly are taken over by sweetness and later rounded off by a hint of CONTINUE READING

Easy Baked Brie 

Easy Baked Brie 





How I Miss Thanksgiving!

Living abroad in Italy is exciting and exhilarating. I met Mr. Italicano here. I have made extraordinary friends here. I started my business while living here. I love the challenges and adventure that each new day brings while living in il bel paese.  I am grateful and I am thankful each day, yet…I miss Thanksgiving!

I miss the smells from the kitchen mingling with the sweet candles burning. I miss the chaotic sounds that fill the house: the clinking and clanking in the kitchen, kids laughter in the play room and lively shouts coming from the living room after a touchdown.

Easy Baked Brie Recipe One of my favorite Thanksgiving Day foods of all time is this CONTINUE READING

2 Tips for the Perfect Blender Hummus 

2 Tips for the Perfect Blender Hummus 

I absolutely adore hummus. It’s one of my favorite go-to recipes when I entertain guests as it’s the perfect appetizer for everyone: vegans, vegetarians, non vegetarians, lactose intolerant, gluten-free.

2-tips-for-the-perfect-blender-hummus-3  I also love having it in my fridge for a healthy snack or to garnish my dishes to instantly add a good source of vegetable protein :: proteina vegetale and fiber. In short, hummus rocks.

2-tips-for-the-perfect-blender-hummus-4The word hummus is an Arabic word meaning “chickpea.” Do you know how to pronounce “chickpea” in Italian?  Test your knowlege or learn a new word by watching this short video:  CONTINUATE A LEGGERE