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This hearty soup is especially common in the Garfagnana region, the mountains northwest of Lucca, but is popular in the rest of Tuscany as well. This is based on a recipe printed in Luciano Migliolli's Il Farro e le sue Ricette.
Begin by preparing the farro: Wash it well, picking out impurities such as bits of chaff, pebbles, or bad grains, and soak it for at least 8 hours. When it's ready, mince the pancetta and sauté it in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, together with the thyme, finely sliced onion, and garlic cloves. When the mixture has browned, remove and discard the garlic, and stir in the chopped tomatoes, parsley and basil. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the hot broth, and once the pot comes to a boil, the farro. Cook over a low flame for about 2 hours or until the farro is done (taste a grain), stirring often, and checking the seasoning towards the end. Let the soup sit for an hour and serve it warm, with olive oil and grated cheese.
Farro soup

• 6-8 ounces (by weight) farro, in whole grains
• 3/4 pound ripe plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
• 2-3 ounces pancetta (smoked if possible)
• grated pecorino toscano cheese, or Parmigiano
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 onion, finely sliced
• a small bunch parsley
• some fresh basil
• olive oil
• salt & pepper to taste
• 1 quart hot broth