What’s for Monday Night Dinner? Insalata di Farro

It’s hard to let go of summer. That, plus I had a half bag of pearled farro staring me in the face that I had smuggled back from Italy.

Farro Perlato imported from Italy in small batches. In my suitcase

Farro is an ancient Italian grain that is high in protein and retains a nice chewy crunch when you cook it. It is similar to barley or spelt, but not exactly either. Go figure. I know it’s odd to bring back grains as a holiday souvenir, but real farro is hard to find stateside. And, as you know by now, I hate to let anything go to waste.

I also had a hodgepodge of veggies left over from Saturday’s CSA pick-up, so I decided to make a simple Insalata di Farro, or Farro Salad. It is reminiscent of any other type of grain salad, like quinoa or rice salads.

Not to brag, but  carnivorous Hubs deemed this vegetarian meal “quite good.”

Insalata di Farro with radishes, tomatoes, peppers and scallions

You’ll see the recipe below, but consider this a starting point. You can use any cooked or raw veggies that you may have on hand, and you can also add some cut up cheese or meat for additional protein. While we were in Tuscany, our neighbor Chiara prepared an Insalata di Farro  with mozzarella, chick peas, tomatoes and potatoes. Delish.

Ingredients:

1 cup farro
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice [can use red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar if you don’t have any lemon]
1 – 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped roughly
4-6 radishes, thinly sliced
4 scallions, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped roughly
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Rinse farro well before use. Put in medium pot and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, salt well, and then let simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. While the farro is cooking, you can chop up your veggies and make the dressing.

Chopped Veggies: Chef’s choice

Put lemon juice (or vinegar) in a small bowl and drizzle in olive oil while stirring to make the dressing. Add salt and pepper to dressing

Farro is ready when it has softened and the water has evaporated.

Almost ready: Farro on the stove

Keep an eye on it while it cooks. If the water absorbs too quickly and it’s not ready yet, you may need to add another 1/2 cup of water. Once it is ready, take it off the burner and fluff with fork. Let it cool. Once cooled, add to large bowl with the chopped veggies and dressing. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil, if you like. A tavola!

Yield: 3-4 servings

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