For the farro:
1 ½ cups pearled farro
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 fresh bay leaves
A drizzle of EVOO
For the soup:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound sweet Italian sausage with fennel
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs of celery, with leafy tops, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, halved and washed, dried and thinly sliced
1 small bulb fennel, quartered, cored and chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
Salt and pepper
2 quarts chicken stock
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
One chunk of rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 small bundle flat lacinato kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 small rotisserie chicken
Finely chopped white onion
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a couple of quarts of water to a boil. Add salt, farro, onion and bay and cook 20-25 minutes until just tender. Drain and drizzle with a little EVOO, keep separate from soup.
Meanwhile, cut sausage from casings. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add sausage and brown and crumble. Add carrots, celery, onion, leek, fennel and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Partially cover pot, sweat vegetables 10-15 minutes and stir occasionally. Add stock, tomatoes and parm rind, and bring to a boil. Wilt in kale. Remove skin from chicken and cutaway breasts, save dark meat for a salad. Pull or chop the chicken and stir into soup.
When you’re ready to serve, remove parm rind and separate half of the soup if not feeding a crowd and add half the farro. If you’re feeding a crowd, add farro to soup and heat through.
Serve soup in shallow bowls with raw onion, EVOO, cheese.