Roasted Tomato and Farro Soup

Jodi Adams - the shining star of Rialto offers this wintery soup, adapted from her book, Bringing it Back Home, written with Ken Rivard.

Equipment: Food Processor, sieve or strainer

Advance Planning: The tomatoes can be roasted, puréed and strained the day before. Refrigerate the purée in a covered, non-reacitve container.

Serves 4

For the soup base:
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 4 Tbsp for garnish
2oz pancetta, 1/4 inch dice
2 stalks celery, 1/4 inch dice
1 medium leek, white part only, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup whole Farro
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp dried greek oregano
4 cups chicken stock, unsalted
2 cups water
1/2 tsp coarse salt, plus extra to season
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus extra to season

For the tomatoes:
2 lbs ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish:
3 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
2 pepperoncini, thinly sliced and seeds removed
1 Tbps fresh basil, cut into thin strips
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating

Preparing the soup base.
Heat 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat starts to render, 2-3 minutes. Add the celery, onion and leeks and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, farro, bayleaves, thyme, oregano 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir. Add the chicken stock and water. The liquid should just cover the ingredients. Cook uncovered until the farro is very tender, about 30 minutes. If the liquid evaporatesbelow the level of the farro add more water. When the farro is done the soup base should be thick but not pasty.

Preparing the tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Toss the tomatoes with 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, then spread the seasoned tomatoes out on a sheet pan and roast until they are brown and tender, about 15 minutes.
Purée the roast tomatoes in a food processor, then strain the purée through a sieve or strainer to remove the skin and seeds.

Finishing the soup:
Add the tomato purée to the soup base and cook over medium heat an additional 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve:
Fill four warm bowls with soup. Sprinkle each bowl with the garnish tomatoes, pepperoncini and basil. Add a light grating of parmeasean cheese, if desired and drizzle each serving with 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil.