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Shrimp Soup with Orzo and Farro

Zuppa di Risina e Gamberetti


This soup is another of Salvatore Denaro's signature dishes in the enoteca. I find the tiny shrimp swimming in a tomato-based broth different, delicious, and filling. Though this soup takes time to prepare, it can be considered a meal in itself.

I have adapted the recipe by using orzo in place of the risina. Tiny dried white beans can also be substituted. Farro packs this soup with both flavor and nutrition. Soak the farro the day before and cook the orzo or beans ahead to cut down on the cooking time.


1/2 cup orzo or small dried white beans

1/2 cup farro

2 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 small onion, minced

1/4 cup minced parsley

4 cups hot chicken broth

2 teaspoons celery salt

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound small cooked shrimp


Pour the orzo into a saucepan and cover with 3 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook about 15 to 20 minutes, just until al dente, firm but cooked. (If you are using beans, soak them overnight, then cook them about 30 minutes, or until tender but not mushy.) Drain and set aside.

Soak the farro overnight, drain, and transfer it to the saucepan used to cook the orzo. Cover the farro with 3 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook about 25 minutes, or just until the grains are cooked through but still remain firm. Drain and set aside.

Place the tomatoes in a food processor, food mill, or blender and puree until smooth. Pour the pulp into a fine-mesh strainer placed over a bowl. Press on the pulp with a spoon to release its juice. Discard the seeds and skins. There should be about 2 cups of tomato juice. If not, add water. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan and stir in the celery, onion, and parsley. Cook until the vegetables soften. Pour in the chicken broth, reserved tomato juice, celery salt, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the orzo and farro. Stir in the shrimp. Cook over low heat for 3 or 4 minutes; do not let the soup boil or the shrimp will become tough.

Ladle the soup into bowls and pass olive oil to drizzle on top.

Variation: Add small broccoli florets to the soup.

Note: If you cannot find small shrimp, buy the 20 - 40 count and cut them in half lengthwise.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN UMBRIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2002.


  1. maria's avatar


    i could not find farro so i added 1/2 cup of orzo instead, excellent

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