We propose a novel filter circuit that incorporates a double ring resonator with a balanced Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI).The circuit has a response equivalent to a conventional ring loaded MZI filter, but with added flexibility in terms of configurability. The second-order filter can also be cascaded to realize higher-order filters. The circuit incorporates a two-stage input and output coupler to further reduce the effect of dispersion. A combination of local and global optimization strategies to program the filter, using tailored objective functions, have been tested in simulation and experiments. To our best knowledge, this is the first time a global optimization strategy is directly used in ARMA filter synthesis and simulation without any additional requirement. We further extend the optimization strategy into experiments and demonstrated its use in practical case for programmable filter circuits.