Chickpea-Farro Soup, Norcia Style

This zuppa from a mountainous Umbrian region puts legumes and whole grains on center stage.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2 cups dried chickpeas picked over and washed
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup farro
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper optional
  • 8 ounces mild Italian sausage cooked separately, cut in small pieces


  1. Soak chickpeas in abundant water for at least 8 hours (or follow quick-soak method).
  2. Saute onion in olive oil until pale gold. Stir in garlic, cooking briefly.
  3. Add chickpeas, bay leaves and water (about 6 cups) to depth about 2 inches above chickpeas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer slowly until chickpeas are barely tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. Stir in farro and continue to cook until chickpeas and grain are meltingly tender, about 25 minutes longer. Add water as needed at any point. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Cool soup to warm. Transfer one-third of mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Roughly smash the remaining mixture with a potato masher or pastry blender, leaving some chickpeas whole. Return pureed chickpea mixture to saucepan. Stir in sausage.
  6. Reheat soup and spoon into bowls. Drizzle a thread of olive oil on top of each serving.

Recipe Notes

Variation: Substitute lentils for chickpeas. The cooking time will be shorter.