Chef Donna prepares hearty farro, sausage, & kale stew

Recipe:  Farro, Sausage & Kale Stew

Makes: 4 servings

This stew hits on all cylinders for those cold wintry days, but also is the perfect take-along covered dish.  Hearty with the nutty and toothsome ancient grain farro, this stew is deliciously satisfying.  No surprise, a little goes a long way here!  If you don’t have farro or are looking for a gluten-free option, try substituting beans, like Cannellini.   This thick stew is also delicious when served over a rich creamy polenta.


1 ½ cups (about 8 ounces) uncooked farro (substitute 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and lightly rinsed)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup each chopped carrots, celery and onion

1/4 cup dried shallots (purchased online at

2 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use Gourmet Garden brand Chunky Garlic paste)

1 8-ounce container mushrooms (choose your favorite here, chop if desired)

3 links (about 3/4 pound) Italian sausage, removed from casing

1 14-ounce can canned diced or crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup each dry red wine and Madeira (substitute Sherry for Madeira)

4 cups beef broth

4 large sprigs of thyme

Optional:  Grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish

Optional:  Olive Oil, to garnish


In a soup pot, heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat, then add the carrots, celery, and onion, the dried shallots, and the garlic.  Toss in the mushrooms, then cover and cook until everything is soft and moist, about 2 minutes.  Remove lid and let most of the moisture cook off, tossing occasionally to keep from browning.

Add sausage and break up into big bite-size chunks as it starts to brown.  When sausage is almost cooked through, add tomatoes and tomato sauce, wine and sherry, then broth.  Stir in thyme and cover to bring the stew to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until farro is almost tender, about 30 minutes.  Add additional stock if a thinner base is desired. Taste, adjust seasonings.

Ladle into warmed bowls:  top with cheese and olive oil. Serve with crusty bread and a hearty salad.

For more information and to see Chef Donna’s other recipes, visit to her website.


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