Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
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.
As seen in Program #2506