Farro with beans, chickpeas and mussels

Farro with beans, chickpeas and mussels

Farro con fagioli, ceci e cozze

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

Beans, mussels and grains – what a perfect combination and a direct reflection of the bounty of the land and sea of Puglia. In the seaside town of Taranto, mussel stalls line the shoreline with huge clumps of the black molluscs everywhere. Here fishmongers stand hour after hour prying the little morsels from their clenched shells. This simple recipe is a satisfying dish either for lunch or as an accompaniment to meat or fish.


Quantity Ingredient
300g farro or pearl barley
2 bay leaves
100g green beans
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1kg mussels
2 garlic cloves, crushed
small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
100ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
100g tinned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 rosemary sprigs


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, place the farro, bay leaves and enough water to cover the farro by 2 cm. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, partially covered, for a further 20 minutes. Check that the farro is al dente and partially cover again to allow the farro to steam for 3–5 more minutes.
  2. Top and tail the green beans and cook them in boiling water for 3–5 minutes. Drain.
  3. Place the onion in a bowl of water for 10 minutes, then drain well.
  4. In a large bowl, wash the mussels under running water, and debeard and scrub them carefully with a scourer. Rinse thoroughly. Discard any open mussels.
  5. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and parsley in 80 ml of the olive oil until fragrant and the garlic is softened. Add the mussels, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Check to see that the mussels have opened. If not, cook for a further minute or two, then drain the mussels over a pitcher or bowl and reserve the cooking liquid. Discard any mussels that have not opened.
  6. Take the mussels out of their shells.
  7. Place 250 ml of the mussel water into the farro and mix well, allowing the mussel flavour to permeate through the grain. Place the farro, cooked mussels, green beans, cannellini beans, onion and rosemary in a large bowl. Add the remaining olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with more olive oil and serve.
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