Consider this riff on minestrone to be a loose guideline for whatever you're feeling the day you make it -- it's the architectural blueprint with which you can build your nourishing, vegetarian, and honestly pretty healthy house, so to speak. Hate zucchini? Nix it. Got some old eggplant that's too sketchy to roast but can easily be disguised in a stew? Throw it in. Lentils work just as well as farro here. Go wild. Bottom line is, this stew will serve as a comforter in times of need and versatility is key. Not serving it alongside a loaf of crusty bread is a mistake, but you do you. —Emily Pellegrini
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- Serves 6 (with leftovers, probably)
diced canned tomatoes
chicken or vegetable stock
small zucchini, sliced
medium sweet potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
swiss chard or kale
garlic cloves, minced
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan reggiano
salt and pepper, to taste
sweet onion, diced
capers, plus a hearty splash of juice
- Cook the farro - Rinse and drain it in a collander, then boil 3 cups water or broth with 1 cup farro until it's fluffy and the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes.) Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, pour in your olive oil and sautee onions and garlic until the onions are translucent and the garlic is nice and stinky, about 3 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and sweet potatoes -- as well as any vegetables you might have lying around (carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli rabe all have a place to shine here). Stir for a few minutes to get a lil' brown on them, then add your stock, capers, beans, greens, pepper flakes, tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Pat yourself on the back and hunker down. You've gotten the big stuff into the pot.
- Turn the heat to low and let everything cook for about 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender, stirring about every 5 minutes to prevent stickage.
- Once your veggies have cooked, dump in your farro and take that bad boy off the heat. Squeeze the whole dang lemon into the pot, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Portion out into bowls and top with parmesan cheese, chili oil, and more red pepper flakes. Serve with crusty bread.