The first time we prepared farro we had to order it online. Local groceries weren’t selling this ancient form of wheat. That’s changed (thank goodness). And among the farro dishes we now want to make is the one featured here, from the central Italian region of Umbria. Cookbook author and TV personality Mary Ann Esposito notes that farro “plays a huge role” in Umbrian cuisine. “This unassuming-looking grain is responsible for so much that is good, healthy eating in Umbria,” Esposito writes in her book Ciao Italia in Umbria (St. Martin’s Press, 2002), where this farro salad appears.
Esposito first sampled the dish at an Umbrian restaurant where a friend is the chef and proprietor. Esposito says the memory of the dish “stayed fresh in my mind” after she returned home. “It is a complete meal in terms of a balance of protein with calcium and vegetables,” she adds. (Click here to see the recipe.)
The speedy way to cook farro is to cover it with water the night before. Drain the water the next day and put the farro in a 1-quart saucepan. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Farro also can be cooked without presoaking. But it will need a longer cooking time, about 30 minutes.
For the salad, the cooked farro is tossed with extra virgin olive oil to coat the grains. Salt and balsamic vinegar are added. The farro is plated and accompanied by arugula and topped with halved cherry tomatoes and shavings of Parmigiano-Regiano cheese. You can drizzle the salad with additional olive oil.
Then, when you sit down and enjoy this dish, you’ll be getting a taste of Umbria.
Your friends at California Olive Ranch