Adapted pretty extensively from Zuppe by Mona Talbott. (Hers is made with cannellini or cranberry beans instead; it suggests but does not include the farro and barley.) Chickpea-cooking technique adapted from Melissa Clark. —Nicholas Day
6 to 8
bunch kale, preferably Tuscan
pearl barley (or use a cup and a half and no farro)
farro (or use a cup and a half and no barley)
In This Recipe
Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of cold water overnight or for at least six hours. Drain the plumped chickpeas and add them to a large pot along with about 10 cups water. Also add: the rosemary sprigs, the bay leaf, a crushed clove of garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil and a tablespoon of salt. If you have a parmesan rind, add that too. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for an hour or so, or until tender; add more water along the way if too much boils off. Do not drain, but remove the rind, the rosemary, the garlic, and the bay leaf.
Meanwhile, warm two or three tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and then add the diced onions and carrots. Sweat until soft; season with salt. Then chop the remaining garlic and add it and the tomatoes. Cook for 5 or 10 more minutes and then add the mixture to the chickpea pot.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. (You can do this while the chickpeas are cooking.) Destem the kale and cut the stem into thin slices; put aside. Roughly chop the leaves. Add the stem to the boiling water; boil for 2 minutes. Then add the leaves and boil for another 3 minutes. Drain and then cool. Chop the kale again if you think the leaves look too large for a soup. Add the kale to the chickpea pot. Simmer the whole thing for about 10 minutes.
Bring another pot of salted water to a boil. (You can do this while the chickpeas are cooking, too, or after you finish the kale.) Add the barley and farro (or just barley or just farro). Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain the grains but keep the barley/farro water.
When the chickpea mixture has simmered for 10 minutes, add the farro/barley and simmer for another 5. If the soup looks too much like stew, thin it with your reserved barley/farro water. Season with salt. Serve with crushed chili flakes and/or parmesan.