All in all this has been a great week. The snow never materialized that the weatherman predicted, my tomato and pepper seedings are beginning to sprout, and I made a big pot of farro and bean soup. This is a soup that I make routinely around here, and is a fave of my family.
Who wouldn’t enjoy this delicate nutty whole grain that’s extremely satisfying. An ancient grain, that is rich in fiber, and so very easily digested, plus one that’s low in gluten and is an extremely versatile whole grain. From soups to salads, to risotto like dishes it will heartily fill you up without the calories. It’s just that good! Try some and maybe you can make it a favorite of your family too!
I was lucky enough to come across Seeds From Italy in one of my ordering searches for San Marzano tomato seeds one day, and even better, they are located right here in New England. Yes, I am one of those die hard gardeners, that is seriously itching to get her hands back into the earth.
San Marzano seedings Not too sweet are they?
What a great selection of seed they offer along with rapid shipping. I ended up ordering many basils, some more herbs, romanesco zucchini that I'm anxious to compare to what I normally grow, peperone friggitello, a frying pepper from Naples, (I could feel my Nonna & Dad smiling down on me when I picked these out), far too many San Marzano's--but the garden wouldn't be complete without them, along with a new chard that was advertised to 'cut & come again'-- verde da taglio. We are major chard eaters here, so this too will be a fun seed to try out for me. After this long snowy winter--green is just what I need to see. So if your in the market for some seed directly from Italy, give them a try--you won't be disappointed.
There you go, once I get started on gardening, there's no stopping me ;-) But now you need to try some fabulous farro soup. Add whatever beans you have on hand. I used a mix of dry pinto and frozen edamame that I tossed in at the very end of the cook, along with a few handfuls of baby spinach, or even try some kale..it's all good and plenty of cheese.
Hearty Farro Soup
1 cup dried pinto bean - save the liquid you will cook them in
2 sage leaves, minced
3 dried bay leaves, crumbled
olive oil, or you may use canned beans
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 medium shallots, minced
1/4 cup white wine
2 stalks celery, minced
3 carrots, diced
a few slices of pancetta, chopped
1 1/4 cups farro, rinsed
8 oz low salt vegetable broth -- if using canned beans, use 16 oz of broth
3 TBLS tomato paste
1/2 cup frozen edamame
1 cup baby spinach or kale, roughly torn
sea salt, ground pepper to taste
Soak the beans overnight, or for at least eight hours. Cover the beans with water, sage, bay leaf and a clove of garlic and bring to a medium boil. Once it begins to boil, turn it down to just a simmer and cook until beans become tender, about an hour. Strain the beans, reserving the liquid and set aside.
In a large pot saute the pancetta, shallots and garlic in olive oil five minutes. Add white wine, carrots, celery and tomato paste. Cook a few minutes more. While this is cooking, take two thirds of your cooked beans and run them through a food processor until you have a smooth paste. You can add some of the vegetable broth or reserved cooking liquids to help form the paste. Add this puree to the pot along with the remaining whole, unprocessed beans, your rinsed farro and fresh herbs. Add vegetable broth or enough water to cover, plus an inch of liquids. I don't add my salt until the end of the cook. Cover and simmer about an hour or until the farro puffs up and tender. This grain absorbs a lot of fluids during the cook, so you may need to add a little more liquid. During the last ten minutes of cooking, add edamame and fresh spinach. Give it a few stirs while it's simmering away and try not to dip into this delicious broth before serving ;) Serve with plenty of grated parmesan cheese and some crusty bread. I really love this soup served even better, reheated the next day.. when it becomes a thick more stew like dish. Enjoy!