Rich stock, sweet tender cabbage and chewy farro are pulled together with a heavy shower of Parmigiano Reggiano and peppery drizzles of olive oil.
Total Time:1 hour 35 minutes
1 pound cabbage (a small head), savoy or green
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 sprig rosemary or thyme
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
2/3 cup farro
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or low sodium store-bought, plus more if needed
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Cut out the cabbage core and finely chop it. Cut the leaves into fine shreds, either by slicing through the chunk of cabbage or by separating the leaves, rolling them into a cylinder, and slicing crosswise into 1/8″ ribbons.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cabbage core and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes until the garlic is soft as well.
Add the shredded cabbage leaves and rosemary or thyme. Cover the pot and let steam for a bit to soften the leaves, then toss the cabbage to help it wilt and soften more. Cook, covered, until the cabbage is very tender and sweet, at least 30 minutes.
When the cabbage is ready, stir in the vinegar. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, heat a glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add the farro and cook, stirring constantly, until the farro is lightly toasted and fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes.
Scrape the farro into the cabbage pot (or put the cabbage into the farro pot– whichever is bigger) and add 4 cups broth. Adjust the heat to a lazy simmer and cook until the farro is tender and all the flavors are married, 25 to 35 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice (if desired). The soup should be very thick, but if it seems like it needs more liquid, add another 1/2 cup water or broth. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice. Serve the soup in shallow bowls, with a shower of parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil on top, with more cheese passed at the table.