A couple of weeks ago I described (in a tiny chestnut shell), my recent trip to visit a friend in Lucca, Italy. I spoke of our hike north of Lucca in the Garfagnana, where the landscape was dotted with chestnut hunters, and made a pasta dish using Michigan chestnuts when I arrived home. While at the Garfagnana park service station, I also noticed bags of farro – the locally cultivated spelt – alongside bags of chestnut purées and pastas.
The cooking in this mountain region is no-nonsense sturdy fare using indigenous ingredients, and I savored a soup made of farro, which I tried to recreate in this recipe. Soups such as this, which are often accompanied by local salami, dark bread and vegetables preserved in oil, find a place to ward off the chill at many a long, wooden hilltop table in this lovely Tuscan area.
I’ve written about farro a great deal and am happy it’s so easily found in Ann Arbor stores. In Tuscany, this whole grain is ubiquitous, I even purchased a bag at a gas station! Kale and sage are still thriving in winter gardens, ingredients quite lovely in this hearty winter soup.
Hunkering down into the folds of winter, my body begs a slowing down, a turning inward, a respite from the frantic pace of December. The seasonal change also brings a change in what I’m craving–– at the moment, soul-nurturing meal-in-a-pot soups. Below, I’ve mapped together some of my well-tested global favorites. (For dozens more, check out the drop … Full recipe post »
Long before Steve Brill made hunting for wild foods a thing, since the dawn of our species we’ve been foraging our lands for edibles to survive. (In the eighties, Brill–aka, Wildman– began organizing foraging expeditions in Manhattan. Once he was slapped with a summons for making a meal from Central Park weeds. Minutes after his arraignment, … Full recipe post »
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trips and favorite associated recipes. Browse my travel recipes...
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