Farro & Cranberry Bean Soup
serves 4

7 ounces farro
1 pound shelled fresh cranberry beans
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
black pepper
water as needed

Rinse the farro and soak it overnight in cold water to cover. Drain. Place the beans in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until hot, then cook onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook over moderate heat for 20 minutes.

Discard thyme sprigs, then blend the cooked beans and onion mixture to a smooth puree in a food processor or blender. Reserve any cooking liquid you don't use in processing the soup.

Return soup to pot and bring to a boil. Add the farro, reserved bean cooking liquid, and as much water as necessary to create a souplike consistency. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the farro is cooked through. Add more water if necessary if the soup becomes too thick. Adjust the salt and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and dusted with freshly ground black pepper.

-adapted from Italian Cooking & Living and Epicurious.com