Zuppa di farro - River Cafe
Our cooking bibles are definitely the River Cafe cookbooks. While they are battered and well used, we often come across recipes and ask "hey, why have we not ever made that!?" That was certainly the case for this recipe. My Mum had given us a few packages of Farro from the Italian grocer in Perth and we decided one night in Sydney to give it a try. It didn't disappoint. The mix of beans, farro and the earthy tomato, rosemary base is delicious.
We have made a few adjustments over time, as one is want to do. We always add a bulb or two of fennel to the base. We also like it slightly more soupy than the original recipe, so add double tinned tomato. While we often make it with tinned beans due to time constraints, we strongly recommend going to the effort of soaking overnight (a VW versus a Mercedes really - both good). If you like a bit of spice, add a dried chilli or two.
Once again, our hats go off to Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray for this beauty.
Recipe for 6
150g borlotti beans (soaked overnight, cooked until tender)
150g of cannellini beans (soaked overnight, cooked until tender)
100g of chickpeas (soaked overnight, cooked until tender)
4 cloves of garlic
2 tins of tinned tomatoes (we use Mutti Polpa, reduce to 1 tin for the original recipe)
3-5 sprigs of rosemary
1 bulb of fennel, rustically sliced
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 small dried chillies
Drain the soaking farro and put in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 mins or until al dente. Remember to remove the foam/scum from time to time.
Fry the onion until translucent. Add the fennel and fry until it starts to become friendly with the onion. Add the garlic and dried chillies and fry until the garlic almost begins to colour. Add the rosemary sprigs, tins of tomato and bring to the boil. At this point add the drained beans and some of the remaining cooking water from the beans (not chickpeas) until you have the consistency you like.
Cook for a further 15-20 minutes and serve with crusty bread. Drizzle with very good quality olive oil and add some grated parmesan for good measure.