Farro e Fagioli Pantesco
farro and beans with Pantellerian flavors
Soak a cup or so of the Bluebird Grain Farms farro overnight. Drain, add fresh water to cover by at least an inch, add a healthy pinch of salt (maybe a teaspoon or so), and simmer, covered, for about an hour. Check the pot a few times and add more water if the grains aren’t covered. Remove from the heat when the farro is tender.
Cook about the same amount of the Haricot Farms rojo chiquito beans. I don’t soak them, but combine the beans with roughly twice as much water, salt, and a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil (2-3 tablespoons maybe). I cook them in a ceramic bean pot in a 200-250F oven until they’re done, usually a couple of hours, but times can vary. If you smell them cooking, check the pot and add more water so they’re barely covered.
Chop a medium onion and start cooking it over medium heat in extra virgin olive oil with a little salt. Add a stalk or two of celery, also chopped (and all this chopping should yield pieces not much bigger than a cooked bean); ditto a medium carrot. When these have softened a bit, a several cloves of chopped garlic, cook for a few minutes, add several anchovies, preferably salt-packed, diced small.
Mix in a small can of your favorite tomatoes (pureed, diced, anything but whole unless you want to break them up in the pan; chopped fresh tomatoes may be used, and tomato paste would also work). Add at least a tablespoon of Pantellerian oregano, more wouldn’t hurt.
Mix in the cooked farro and beans. If there’s still a lot of cooking liquid in them, use a slotted spoon to drain some as you add them. The liquid adds flavor, so I usually dump it in and then simmer the pot uncovered for awhile to reduce the liquid. Whichever route you take, let the farro & beans cook long enough with the sauce to thicken enough so it’s not soupy.
Serve warm with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil. An additional pinch of oregano at the table is a good thing, too. Sprinkle with mollica Pantesco.