Serves 4 to 6
Here is more evidence that farro is enjoying a comeback in today's kitchen. The inspiration for this warm farro and chickpea salad comes from another Umbrian chef Donatella Lauteri. Begin the process the day before with soaking the farro and the chickpeas.
1/2 cup farro
2/3 cup dried chickpeas
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 or 5 sprigs Italian parsley, stemmed, plus extra for garnish
3 fresh sage leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles only
1/4 cup Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup reserved cooking water from the chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Grinding Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
12 small slices baguette style bread cut ½-inch thick
Put the chickpeas in a bowl and cover them with water; in another bowl, cover the farro with water and allow both to soak overnight. Doing this will eliminate a long cooking time.
The next day drain the water from the chickpeas and transfer them to a pot; cover them with clean water and cook for 15 minutes or just until they are tender and the outer skins easily slip off. Drain the chickpeas, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and set aside. Repeat the process for the farro, cooking them about 20 minutes or just until al dente. They should have a bit of a bite and not be mushy. Depending on the farro, it may cook in even less time.
Mince the garlic, parsley, sage, and rosemary together.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan; stir in the garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary and oregano. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the mushrooms and cook them until they soften and begin to give off their liquid. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the chickpeas, farro, and the reserved cooking water. Stir and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in the salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute longer. Keep the mixture warm while the bread is toasting.
Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast them until golden brown in a 350ºF pre-heated oven for 5-7 minutes.
Place two slices of toasted bread side by side on each of 6 salad dishes. Evenly divide and spoon the farro mixture over the bread slices. Garnish with extra parsley and drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the top.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN UMBRIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2002.
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