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!