Yep, we were hit with freezing rain, bent-over trees, and icky ice on the roads last week. Then yesterday morning with snow and freezing temps. Luckily, it melted quickly (high around 40 degrees) and we are off the hook until this afternoon and tonight, when again we have a chance of sleet / rain / snow stuff…..Yeah, Baby – It’s Cold Outside!
In order to keep warm, we are bundled up, staying indoors, and cooking up our own storm.
For dinner, we both cried out for Minestra di Farro (borlotti bean and farro soup), an all time favorite which helps us recreate the feeling of eating a steaming bowl of soup in Lucca, Italy. The recipe comes from “The Food Of Italy: A Journey For Food Lovers” cookbook, and the book can be found here on Amazon.
Yes, Diane, I thought of you and your bean dilemma from your post here, as I sorted and then soaked the borlotti beans. They were covered in water overnight, then happily boiled, then simmered on the stove top most of the day. Here’s hoping you’ll try this recipe and let me know your bean thoughts, ok?
Let’s get started – First, go to Italy and bring back 7 ounces of dried borlotti beans. OK, OK, maybe just purchase some locally….or take the easy, less tasty route and buy canned. If you can’t find borlotti beans, then you can sub cranberry or adzuki beans.
Next, pick through the beans and discard any that look out-of-place (kinda like a rock or stone that is hiding in said beans), any that are really soft feeling, or extremely shriveled.
Cover the beans with water in a large stockpot, cover with a lid, and soak overnight.
Next morning, drain the beans in a colander and rinse out the pot – there could be a bit of grit or dirt on the bottom. Add the beans back to the pot, and cover with about 6-8 cups of water.
Here’s the fun part: if you have fresh rosemary and sage, add it to a square of cheesecloth. If you have dried herbs, then add those instead. Either way, the herbs will impart great flavor to the water and the beans. Add about 6 cloves of garlic that you’ve cut in half (no need to peel). Add some whole black peppercorns. Tie all of this with kitchen twine into a tidy little bundle of flavor love, and add to the pot. NOTE: this little bundle makes it SO much easier to remove it all after cooking the beans. Plus, you won’t have hard black peppercorns in your soup!
Now, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 90 minutes. Next, remove the flavor bundle, add about a teaspoon of salt to the bean mixture, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
DONE! Well….at least for the bean soaking-and-cooking part. Next time we meet, we’ll make the soup. Do we have a date? Hope so – see you soon!
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I like your idea of going to Italy for the beans…I think it would be a warmer place for grocery shopping. 😀
Just say the word, and we can do some shopping! The variety is definitely worth the trip.
Love it – now I just have to get my tickets to Italy ordered, pack, find someone to take care of the dog & cat, stop the mail…oh, I don’t have to go to Italy – you sure?
I’m sorry you’re getting our weather down there. I think we’re going to go all the way up to 40 on Friday so hopefully we’ll get a lot of melt. It’s bitter out there now but the front of the house is getting sun & every time an icicle let’s go I jump out of my skin – sounds like the side of the house is falling off.
Details Details…let’s just pack and go! Leave the rest to those left behind, right?!?
Once your snow start melting, the next issue will be flooding – yikes!
I saw on the news the terror the falling icicles are causing in downtown Boston – look out below, Mate-ies! Aarghh!
Hang in there, and maybe you can get outa the house during the “heat wave” on Friday.