Jul 3, 2010

Insalata di farro recipe

Farro is a grain much like pearl barley, but it’s dried after harvesting in such a way that instead of being fluffy when cooked, it becomes chewy and nutty.

In Italy it's been a major staple since the ancient Romans began using it to make bread and soup before they "discovered" wheat. Nowadays it’s employed in salads, soups, stews, even paired to pastas. You should be able to find farro in Italian specialty stores, and supermarkets may have started to stock it in health food selection aisles.
This refreshing “carbful” vegetarian salad is always a hit at my summer lunches. The recipe reported here is just a base, so go ahead and add ingredients to suit your food fantasies and personal taste.

Ingredients for 4
8 fistfuls of farro (spelt)
1 medium Mozzarella di Bufala, diced – in winter I substitute the mozz with shaved Parmigiano
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
20 black olives, pitted
A pinch of salted capers, rinsed
1 carrot, diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
5 fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Soak the farro in cold water for 20 minutes, this will shorten cooking time. Get rid of the foamy soaking water and place the farro in a large stewpot, cover with 2 quarts of lightly salted cold water and bring to a boil.

Simmer for 30 minutes–or until tender–and drain well. Cool the grains by rinsing them in the colander under running water.

Halve the tomatoes directly into a large salad bowl to save their juice.

Add the rest of the ingredients, including the cooked farro, dress with olive oil and season to taste. 

Refrigerate for 30 minutes, toss again, adjust seasoning and serve with a carafe of chilled Fiano di Avellino.

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  1. hey there! thought about you earlier today when i saw your comment on rosario's post at pultritudinous...

    never had faro, but sounds quite healthy...perhaps to try...

  2. Hello Lola, O.K. this is so healthy, Plus it has "Mozzarella di Bufala!!"

  3. I can now find farro at most supermarkets. Ask the manager at your local place to order it for you. It is definitely a hearty grain, nutty and filling. My vegan daughter lives on farro.

    Thanks, Eleonora! The salad looks scrumptious!

  4. I love Farro! The first time I saw it, I thought that it was a type of short grained rice since it looked so much like an Asian fried rice dish. But one taste is lovely! I love how interestingly chewy it is and since its eaten chilled, it definitely is lovely for this hot summer weather we are having

  5. I love the chewy textures of the ancient grains. They are really healthy too and help keep blood sugar levels under control.

  6. Sending a sweet hello from Frog Hollow Farm. First of all thanks for stopping by the other day and leaving such a nice comment - I know I haven't been posting as often but things here are a bit busy - our home office is almost ready for us to move into so I'll be a bit more organized and focused! We love cooking with farro, and use it in salads similar to your recipe as well as in a chick pea soup. Try adding freshly roasted peppers and toasted walnuts or almonds to the salad too! Yum! As always, thank you for a wonderful post!
    Ciao, bella!

  7. I can't use farro because of gluten, but I make a similar rice salad using three kinds of rice: white rice, brown rice and that black Venere rice. I then throw in tuna, tomatoes, grated carrots, canned corn, cucumber, olives, artichoke hearts, you name it. Whatever is in the fridge or cabinet!

  8. This sounds delicious! I had farro when I was in Lucca and really liked it, so I will definitely give this a try.

  9. hi eleonora,

    i love your blog (please sign me up for your newsletter) and your creative recipes - i prepared the swordfish from a couple posts ago and it turned out great btw (minus the black sesame seeds which i forgot alas)

    taking some inspiration from you i posted a few recipes i cooked yesterday for a 4th of july bbq. if you have a moment to stop by my site and check them out i would love to know your thoughts!

  10. This sounds perfect, we live on salads in the summer. I'll definetly go look for farro this week. Thank you thoughtful one.

  11. Brian~ I bet the kids would love it too.
    CChuck~ Exactly!
    Rosaria~ Thank YOU for sharing your thoughts.
    Rinaz~ Perfect for this weather!
    LoriE~ Yes, very heart-friendly.
    FHFG~ Thanks for the roasted veggie addition, I think Jamie Oliver does his farro salad like that.
    Saretta~ Yes, this is exactly that kind of ingredient medley!
    Farin~ Thank you for stopping by! Let me know how it turns out when you make it.
    Amanda~ I'm coming right over, with sparklers and a big appetite, any leftovers? :)
    Lori ann~ He he he, knew you'd appreciate...


  12. The perfect thing for a hot summer day ! Always a pleasure to see what's on the table here...

    Now, should we open a white or a red to go with that ???

  13. I love using farro in salads. It is indeed the perfect base for - anything. I love the summer colors that just welcome you. And the mozzarella. Yes, always the mozzarella.

  14. Owen~ either one is fine as long as slightly chilled (yes, I'm that kind of person who actually puts red wine in the fridge for 4 minutes before uncorking)
    Claudia~ ALWAYS!

  15. Brava Regina di Roma!! Tell me how it turned out, OK?