Tomato and Farro Soup

 

Tomato-Farro Soup-282-14242

 

Back in 2001, when we were working on our cookbook, farro was still rare.  If you went to the right restaurants, if you frequented the vortices of culinary hipness.  Italian delis, in New York or San Francisco maybe.  Specialty food stores, the occasional sighting.  How the world has turned in a dozen years!  Now you can often buy farro in grocery stores, which is a good thing if you want to make this week’s Tomato – Farro Soup.

POLENTA WITH PANCETTA, SHAVED ASPARAGUS AND AGED GOUDA

Polenta with Pancetta, Asparagus and Shaved Gouda-25

Last week Jody and I were treated to a delicious dish of broiled polenta with mushrooms at the home of friends and we immediately began thinking about a spring variation. Our first impulse, topping it with chicory and fava beans, didn’t work out because fresh favas – or a good substitute – aren’t in stores yet. What is available now is asparagus – and pancetta, and for a new wrinkle on the cheese, Aged Gouda.

What the world needs now is. . . Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta with Star Anise and Grape Compote.

Another panna cotta recipe?  Really?

As well ask, Does the world need another saxophone riff?  Another short story?  Another poem?  Of course it does.  Look, if you’re filleting fugu or sautéing false morels (not advised), you want a recipe nazi with hairy calves and an I summitted K2 without O2 tattoo.   But panna cotta?  Ah, no.  Panna cotta is a melody that invites riffing, if only because sometimes no matter how wonderful the last iteration, the simple tune of cooked cream cries out for variation, a what if . . .  and because sometimes things just don’t work the way the recipe says they should, so you need to improvise.  That’s how we ended up with Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta with Star Anise and Grape Compote.