Farro is an Italian grain that has also been known as emmer. It was an ancient variety of wheat. It was cultivated by the Roman thousands of years ago. The word farro is the Latin word for wheat, and is the root of the Italian word for flour: farina.
Farro has a nutty flavor, and a slightly crunchy texture. It resembles a grain of rice wrapped in a light reddish brown hull. Some of the hull still remains on the seed after a few abraisions. Do not confuse farro with spelt, wheatberries, or kumut. These grains are all varieties of wheat. They come from different time periods, and different parts of the world. They are all different and have different flavors and textures. However, they are interchangable in reciepes. Farro can be used in soups, salads and stuffings.
Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs
1 ¼ pounds farro, about 3 cups
2 qt. water
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
1 ¼ pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
½ cup minced chives
½ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
In a large sauce pot, cover the farro with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat until barely tender, about 20 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of salt and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes longer. Drain well, then transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
In a medium bowl, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt until it becomes a puree. Whisk in the balsamic vinegar and then the oil oil. Season the dressing with pepper.
Add the tomatoes, onions, chives and parsley to the farro and toss. Add the dressing to the salad, season with salt and pepper, and toss, then serve.
Rustic Bean and Farro Soup
3 tbsp. olive oil
¾ cup chopped pancetta
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium celery ribs, peeled and chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage, marjoram, or thyme or a combination
1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas or cannellini beans, or a combination; picked over, soaked overnight, and drained.
8 cups homemade or low salt canned chicken broth or water
2 tsp coarse salt; more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ¼ cups uncooked whole grain farro
extra virgin olive oil for garnish
freshly grated pramifiano reggiano for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot set over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until the onion, carrots, celry, garlic and herbs and sauté until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
If using dreid beans, add the soaked, drained beans to the soup pot, with the tomatoes, broth, or water, and 2 tsp. salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the beans are ender, 1 to 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper. For a creamier soup, purée 1 cup of the bean mixture and stir it back into the pot.
In a saucepan, bring 6 cups salted water to a boil. Add the farro, reduce the heat and simmer until it’s just al dente and chewy, about 10 to 30 minutes. Drain, add it to the soup, and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors meld and to finish cooking. Stir to prevent scorching. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a swirl of olive oil, grated cheese and pepper.
Serves 6 as a main dish, 8 as a first course.
© 2015 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2015 January 29). Farro. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net