As a kid, I loved canned soup. OK, let's be honest, I still do. Progresso, in particular. They had this one chunky tomato soup with rotini and zucchini, and I think I've made up a totally overblown memory of how awesome it was - the silky texture of the zucchini in that salty tomato broth with those freaky noodles that somehow never got too soft.
Now that I'm all growns up, I suppose I'm not supposed to love canned soup anymore because of all the sodium and whatnot. But I still have a soft spot for it. So today I set out to recreate the Progresso Garden Tomato soup of my youth.
My version gets an update for the adult version of me, with chewy, nutty farro standing in for the rotini and creamy white beans added for protein. This soup makes the best work lunch ever - it's totally satisfying and freezes great.
Shoutout to my mom for the handmade ceramic bowl in the photographs! She made it at Greenport Pottery years ago and presented it to me, as a joke, wrapped up under the Christmas tree. This bowl has survived moves from NY to San Diego to LA to San Francisco. I'm not totally convinced it's food-safe, but heck! It looks pretty darn good for a gag gift. Thanks ma!
Tomato Soup with Zucchini, Farro and White Beans
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 30 min Total Time: 40 min
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise then cut into half moons
1/2 cup farro
28 oz can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
3 cups water
14 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
handful basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil over medium-low heat in large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until very soft but not brown, about 10 minutes.
Add crushed red pepper, zucchini, farro and a large pinch of salt and saute for about 1 minute. Then add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover partially and cook til farro is just tender, about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add white beans and heat through, about 5 more minutes.
Check consistency and add more water if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with basil as garnish on top. Freezes well for perfect lunches!