we’ve got a sweetness to the air lately, a touch of chill on odd numbered nights, and an all-encompassing notion that autumn has unfolded her fawny limbs unto a monument of fallen leaves. this is my favorite time of year, these moments that separate the wake from the slumber. a final yawn traversing through and into the moment when winter comes. when it’s less subtle and more substantial. our breathing is measured now, slower, slightly mathematical but pacific.
i’ve been taking some time as of late to stand still (hence the marked silence). busy not busy busy finding new places to draw momentum from. the garden is winding, twisting, hissing, and slowing all at once – offering free lessons in the vagaries of the weather. the winter greens are thick with a fever that will be undisturbed by eventual snow. and still yet we are finding the summer staples flourishing as opportunists.
parts of me feel like this moment has come so quickly, no matter how steadfast my yearning for it. i always get a little wistful this time of year. has the expense of the year’s expanse thus far been its worth in emotion and energy? has my soul been taxed enough? too little? must i find a further limb to climb out onto?
fuck it – must i grow the tree? all of the above always. there is never grief, only introspection. and did you know that introspection tastes really good with a bowl of piping hot soup? i know you did so let’s do it.
- 1½ tbl olive oil + 2 tbl olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1½ cups farro
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 sprigs of fresh basil
- 1 tbl kosher salt + more for taste
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 large leeks, white and green parts halved and sliced
- 3 lbs tomatoes, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tbl fresh oregano leaves
- in a 5 quart pot heat the first half of olive oil. add the farro and cook over medium heat until lightly toasted. add the onion and basil (leaf and stem) and cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. fill pot with water and add 1 tbl of kosher salt, bringing all to a boil. cover and reduce to a simmer until grain is tender yet chewy, 20-25 minutes. drain, reserve liquid, and set farro aside.
- in a dutch oven heat remaining 2 tbl of olive oil. add garlic, celery leek, and a pinch of salt. cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. stir in the chopped tomato, along with the bay leaves, thyme, and oregano. add 1 cup of reserved farro cooking liquid. bring all to a simmer and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. discard bay leaves.
- in a blender, process 1 cup of the soup until smooth. add back to pot and salt soup to taste. add farro. stir to combine. serve in soup bowls drizzled with olive oil and black pepper.