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Archive for October 15th, 2009

Maybe it’s the weather.  (This morning, when Jack and I walked to the bus stop next to the Aurelian Wall, it was 41 degrees (F).)

It’s also the food.  The (nice) problem is that the food at the Academy is too good.  Sometimes, I just want to hole up in the apartment and eat a humble dinner that a kid can like.  I’m lucky enough to have a kid who likes some interesting foods, though he also loves pasta with olive oil, parmesan, and nothing else.

soup

One thing I’ve learned from Mona is that the traditional Italian diet is a peasant diet, and is based on the lowly triumvirate of greens, grains, and beans.  My soup takes two of those categories, in the form of farro, red lentils, and split peas, and swaps the greens for carrots and onions.  I also threw in some chunks of fatty pork belly (i.e. bacon) for flavor.  This is the easiest comfort food to make, and is good for locavores in the winter (I’m jumping the gun, here) because it involves dry and long-lived root ingredients.

Start by sauteing bacon, carrots, shallots or onions, and garlic.  Bring broth to a simmer, and pour in a cup of farro combined with split peas and red lentils.  Dump in the veggies, after they caramelize, and simmer until it’s all tooth-tender.  You can add more water or broth if it gets too low.  And you can season to your pleasure.  Tonight, because it was mainly for Jack, I just used a parmesan rind, salt, and pepper.  Other nights, I might have used a combination of lemon and marjoram or thyme; or cumin, cayenne, and coriander.  In any case, it will benefit from a drizzle of flavorful olive oil (my bottle says “gusto forte”) and a sprinkling of grated cheese.  Yum.

A chunk of bread and a glass of hearty red helps too.

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