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Farro and chickpea soup with mushrooms

I'm not a city person. It’s something I’ve learned over the years and especially during my last year living in France. In France, I lived in a ninth-floor apartment on one of the busiest avenues in Grenoble.  The silver lining was that that space was incredibly bright. I started growing plants compulsively - I had my private jungle in pots. For the first time in my life (and probably the last) I was able to make an orchid bloom again. However obvious it might have seen, it’s only now that I understand how the plants were my way of getting closer to nature.

I’m an introvert, and crowded and noisy places drain me, while walking alone on a dirt road in the country side especially has always made me feel good, like myself again. 

Even in cities, I can find places to walk that suit my introvert nature.  In Florence, one such place is the San Niccolò neighborhood. It’s close to the center of Florence but it has a “village spirit,” although I’ve seen mass tourism change that over the years. Every time I go there I like to stop for lunch at the Antica Mescita, a lovely osteria with small tables and stools. During fall and winter they have on the menu a Farro (spelt) and Chickpea soup that is pure joy in a earthenware bowl. 

Farro and chickpea soup with mushrooms:

Serves 2-4

Ingredients :

1 celery stalk

1 carrot 

1 small onion

3 garlic cloves

200gr/ 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

2 cups of cooked chickpeas + their liquid

150 gr/ 3/4 cup of Farro

1 litre / 4 and 1/2 cups of water

7 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzling right before serving

6-7 rosemary sprigs

4 oz of fresh porcini mushrooms or Porcini mushroom in a jar with olive oil, or fresh Shitake if you can’t find the Porcini

Instructions :

Start by making the soffritto. Finely chop tge celery, carrot, onion and  2 cloves of garlic and place them in a pan/pot on medium-low heat with 4 table spoons of olive oil for about 10 minutes, keeping on stirring, until the carrot is soft and the celery and onion are translucent. You don’t want them to get brown or to caramelize. Add the minced rosemary. Then add the crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes to let it reduce a little bit. Then add your farro and water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook with a lid on medium-low heat (you want it to bubble gently) for about 30 minutes or until your farro is soft (you can check the instructions on the package) and stir from time to time.

 

Once the farro is almost done mush a cup of the chickpeas by placing them in a plate and squish them with a fork or the back of a wooden spoon.  You can use a blender if you wish. For such a small quantity I don’t think it's worth it to clean the blender afterwards :). Also if you use a blender you’ll have a puree texture, while if you mash it with a fork you’ll get a more rustic texture. You can choose whatever you prefer.

Add the mashed chickpeas and the whole chickpeas to the pot and let it cook for 10 minutes more.  It should have a thick texture. If it’s too thick you can add some chickpea liquid to dilute it. Then let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

If you’re using fresh mushrooms : 

In the meanwhile in a small frying pan add 3 table spoons of olive oil, one minced garlic clove and one chopped rosemary sprig. Let the garlic and herb infuse the olive oil for a couple of minutes and then add the roughly chopped mushrooms. Cook for 5-10 minutes stirring often or until they are soft and a little bit caramelized. Remove from the heat and leave aside.

If you’re using jarred porcini mushroom : chop them roughly and leave aside.

Serve the Farro and chickpea soup in a bowl topped with one or two spoons or mushroom, freshly grated black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

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About this document

Created: October 15, 2018

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