Ina Garten’s Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup

updated Aug 9, 2023
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A few years back we shared a make-ahead dinner party menu from Ina Garten, and in our chat with her, she talked about how simple a make-ahead menu can be — it’s all in choosing recipes that are just as good made ahead. And when it comes to a dish that exemplifies that, soup is king.

Here’s a delicious soup we chose as a first course. It’s hearty and filling even with no meat, and Ina has a few extra tips for ways to finish it off in a special way.

In her own notes about this recipe, Ina explains, “Pearled farro is a whole grain that is now available in most grocery and health food stores. This soup with mushrooms, pancetta, and lots of vegetables is really hearty. I make it ahead, refrigerate it, and then reheat it, serving it with a dollop of crème fraîche and a swirl of Marsala wine.”

Vegetarian & Vegan Adjustments

Obviously this does have pancetta, but that can be left out at little cost to the soup. There’s plenty of oil to cook the vegetables in. Substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth, and the soup is vegetarian. Leave off the crème fraîche at the end and it’s vegan too.

How Ina Finishes Off This Soup

This soup can simply be made ahead (and even frozen!) and reheated just before serving. If there’s a little extra time, though, Ina likes to add a special finishing touch, like a crouton or bread. “As the flavor melds soup gets better, but I always try and put something with it,” she told me. “Take a baguette and do big long diagonal slices — then grill it in the panini machine brushed with olive oil. You can do a lot at one time, and then you have something crunchy with the soup.”

Yum! Thanks, Ina!

Tester’s Notes

This soup was rich and satisfying, and reminded me of a hearty cream of mushroom soup with all the farro, vegetables, and pancetta. Definitely great for dinner with some crusty bread or a green salad!

My package of farro wasn’t specifically labeled “pearled,” but it did have a suggested cooking time of 45 minutes, which is the same as this recipe, so it ended up working just fine. If you can’t find crème fraîche, use sour cream instead.

Christine, April 2015