November 22, 2013

Zuppa di Ceci e Farro con 'Nduja

This year nature is taking revenge around the world. We had horrible storms and flooding again in Florence a few weeks back and this week a cyclone hit Sardegna.

What makes it all worse is the over building of homes in the wrong places, as soon as a storm comes, the land no longer holds and it results in disaster.

I am thankful my home is safe. My husbands family lived in Florence during the 1966 flood, and although they lived on a top floor and did not lose their home or any of there things, it effects the whole area. Lack of clean water, electricity and homes lost.

The cyclone brought more rain to the mainland of Italy as well and we weathered it out being sick.

I finally felt like cooking today and since we haven't been shopping did a clean the pantry dish. I recently bought mini chickpeas and farro from the local farmer at the market.

A classic in many countries, legumes and rice are a perfect protein and are served as soups or stews around the world in the many variations.

Pasta e fazool (in dialect) is what most Italians grew up eating, a pasta and bean soup, called Pasta e Fagioli ( in Italian).

I did a local twist using the chickpeas which I cooked without soaking as they were freshly dried, you never know when you buy in a shop how old your dried beans are, hence the overnight soaking.

When I cook any beans, I make at least a one pound batch, although we are just two, it takes the same time to cook less, so I just bag up the left-overs and freeze them.

Zuppa di Ceci e Farro
Chickpea and Spelt ( Emmer) Soup

2 cups cooked chickpeas ( I slow cook with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary in the cooking water)
2 cups parboiled farro also called spelt or emmer ( boil with olive oil and sea salt in the water, about 20 minutes)

extra water to puree and create soup.

Seasonings: this can be a very rustic, plain soup so I like to add things, depending on the weather.
This is the same combo as the fabulous Chicchi salad on my website, which is enhanced with garlic, olive oil , chili, cherry tomatoes and truffles.

Today I added bits of 'nduja a spicy Calabrian spreadable salami made from pork fat and chili, then smoked. A friend of mine, Chris Cosentino in San Francisco makes 'ndjua at his company Boccalona.

Puree half of the chickpeas with extra water to create a soup base. I use an Italian food mill, which separates the skin from the beans and creates a smooth bean broth.

Add the rest of the chickpeas and the farro. It is up to you if you want it more like a soup or a stew.

I added more water to heat the soup and then put in bits of 'nduja and melted them in the soup, I like a kick, so added about 2 large soupspoons.

You can also just add tomato paste for color or saute' garlic with chopped rosemary and heat in olive oil and pour the herbed oil in the soup before serving.


  1. this looks great and healthy always nice to see farro recipes

  2. Perfect! I want some now-it has finally gotten cold here. Soups like this are simply soul satisfying. You are sure right about Nature taking her revenge. Here in Southern California home builders and developers are forever encroaching on wildlife habitats - driving creatures from where they have lived for millennia and then wondering why a mountain lion shows up in the new park. Fires, too often strike these new developments. Sometimes we should just leave things alone. Do you remember that told commercial -"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."

  3. We've been eating lots of soup with farro in Pisa too! I haven't tried it with chickpeas yet though so looking forward to trying this out!

  4. You should need more time for tastier beans. I will try also the same recipe soon :)

  5. Doris- what do you mean more time for tastier beans? cooking time? i bought my mini chickpeas from the farmer and they are this years harvest- i think most people get dried beans that are years old.