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SH13A224BEANS Jan. 29 2013 -- White-Bean Stew Farro. (SHNS phoby Ashley Isaac / The Toledo Blade)

SH13A224BEANS Jan. 29, 2013 -- White-Bean Stew and Farro. (SHNS photo by Ashley Isaac / The Toledo Blade)

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1 pound dried cannellini beans

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

5 garlic cloves, peeled, divided

1 celery stalk, cut in half lengthwise, leaves reserved

1 large onion, halved from root to stem

1 whole clove (stick it in an onion half)

2 rosemary sprigs

2 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

1 piece Parmesan rind, optional


1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup farro

Flaky salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

Chopped celery or parsley leaves for garnish, optional

Lemon juice and/or grated Parmesan cheese for serving, optional

If you have time, soak the beans in advance; put them in a large bowl and cover with several inches of water. Let sit overnight, or at least a few hours.

When ready to cook, drain the beans (if soaking) and place in a large pot over medium-high heat, along with oil, 3 of the garlic cloves, celery and onion. Bundle together the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, tie securely with kitchen twine, and throw it into the pot. Add Parmesan rind, if using. Cover everything with water and stir in the salt.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, partly covered, until beans are soft. This will take 1 to 3 hours, depending on how long you soaked the beans (if you did) and how old the dried beans were when you bought them.

If the pot starts to look dry before cooking is complete, add more water; at the end of cooking, the water should not quite cover the beans. If there is too much liquid, ladle out the excess.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the farro. Rinse thoroughly, then add to a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook, according to directions on package, until softened. Drain well.

Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves.

When the beans are cooked, remove and discard the onion, celery, herbs and optional Parmesan rind (you can leave the garlic in the pot). Ladle half the beans into a food processor or blender, add the minced raw garlic, and puree. Return the bean puree to the pot.

Serve the beans in bowls over the farro, drizzle each portion with plenty of olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt, red pepper and celery leaves or parsley. If the stew tastes flat, swirl in some lemon juice; grated Parmesan cheese on top also is nice.

From Cook This Now
by Melissa Clark

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