Farro Tomato Soup with Pancetta & Mussels

My camera is "sick" and is presently under the knowing hands of some "camera doctors" who can make it work again.  It's my son to whom I gave the responsibilty of taking it to Canon service center, guided by my husband.  Ten (LONG) days, they said.  This will be a very long wait for me.

I had the food prepared on the table ready for my improvised amateurish photoshoot when the camera wouldn't click.  Error 99 it says.  I tried again and Error 99 kept on glaring at me.  It says to turn the camera on and off, take away the battery and try again.  Error 99 still wouldn't let up.  I couldn't believe it!  Can it be that session I did with the vitelotti gnocchi when the camera got a bit powdered with flour that killed my camera?   But then it still worked after that.  

I felt so dejected.  I went to my husband with clear desperation written all over my face and told him the problem.  He always solves the problems I get myself tied up to, maybe he can do some magic or input some logic to my already desperate position.  He clicked, opened, changed CF cards, batteries, lenses and finally he said that it seems that there is a problem with the shutter.  Damn, there really is a problem and it's even a Saturday so I even had to wait for Monday when the service center opens.   I grabbed my old camera & his camera to continue shooting.   It's just not the same.  I was really attached to that camera. 

I've been feeling so uninspired all week that I was just meaning to cook my old recipe of farro with pancetta minus the salsiccia.  It takes an hour and a half to cook so I had the luxury to sit down in front of the TV while waiting.  One kid is playing outside and one is napping.   There was silence.  I tuned in to a cooking program that was featuring a pasta dish with mussels.  It's nice to hear what they were saying and to be able to follow something for once.  Kids & watching TV just don't go well together. 

I am not particularly big on mussels but for some reason I found the mussels in the program I was watching so compelling.  I was restraining myself from running to the fish shop to get myself some.  I already have dinner cooking, what am I thinking?  Then I thought that it should be good to mix it with the farro I am cooking.  It would mean that there will be an interval in the cooking.  I have to turn off the fire after the farro is cooked and start it again when I have the mussels.  That's not really proper isn't it, but I was really keen in having some mussels on my dinner plate.  

When there's a will, there's a way.   I found the mussels in the nearby supermarket and resumed my cooking as soon as I got home.  I cooked them for another 20 minutes with the farro until the mussels opened.  Then I thought of making it more soupy than the usual way I cook the dish.  I had one big saucepan of mussels that looked so irresistible.  The taste was something else too!  I felt like a child enjoying her prize lollipop.

Farro Tomato Soup with Pancetta & Mussels

Serves 4
  • 250 grams farro perlato (pearl emmer wheat ), ready to be cooked
  • 200 grams mussels, cleaned
  • 150 grams pancetta affumicata, diced
  • 400 grams tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, halved or crushed
  • Marjoram
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  1. Sautè the diced pancetta, garlic & marjoram.  When the pancetta attain a brownish color, add the onions and cook until golden.  
  2. Add the tomatoes & parsley.  Cook for an hour on low heat.  Keep a pot of hot water beside the saucepan.  When the sauce is drying out, add some hot water when needed. 
  3. Add the farro.  Cook for 15 minutes on low heat.  Stir frequently.  Take away the garlic.  
  4. Add the mussels & cover.  Cook for another 15 - 20 minutes.
  5. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley.