It always feels like fall when peppers start to replace tomatoes at the farmers’ market. This year it seemed the peppers were ripe before the tomatoes, making our cool summer even more pathetic.
After looking at the peppers for a few weeks, I couldn’t resist their jewel-like colors and bought a few. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make until I got home and saw the bag of cannellini beans in the pantry and knew a hearty salad that could bridge summer and fall would be delicious.
Because the beans were from Rancho Gordo I threw them in a pot and boiled them without any presoak. I did toss in an onion cut in quarters and a couple of smashed garlic cloves for extra flavor. Canned beans could be used for this recipe, but “fresh” dried beans will be best.
I like the mix of beans, farro and arugula, but this salad would be equally delicious with orzo-shaped pasta instead of farro and spinach substituted for the arugula.
Farro and Cannellini Bean Salad
What to drink: Cotes du Rhone. The blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdere is a little like coffee with milk and sugar—each part makes the whole even more delicious. We love Skalli Côtes Du Rhône Les Rabassière ($15). Even at twice the price this wine would be a total value for the quality.
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
2 cups water
1 cup farro
Sea or kosher salt
3 small bell peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup homemade or high-quality chicken stock
2 handfuls of arugula
Freshly ground pepper
Cover the beans with at least three times as much water as beans. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until tender, about 2 hours.
Put the water, farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
Cut both ends off the peppers and discard or save for a future use. Make a lengthwise cut in the peppers and lay flat. Trim the veins from the insides of the peppers and discard along with the seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch strips lengthwise and then cut the strips into 1-inch lengths.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the peppers, shallots, garlic and thyme sprigs. Cook until the peppers are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is nearly dry, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and stock and bring to a boil. Cook until the stock begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Taste the beans and season with salt and pepper.
Drain the beans and put them in a large serving bowl. Add the farro and peppers and stir to combine. Let cool slightly before stirring in the arugula. Toss to combine and serve.