Farro has been having its moment in the food world for decades. Whether the ancient grain receives attention for its vitamin rich qualities on whole food blogs like “Cookie and Kate,” or appears fashionable on menus like that of Chef and Farmer (Kingston, NC) or Chez Panisse (Berkley, CA), it continues to have a presence on America’s global table.
I originally followed suit of the uber-healthy and began cooking farro as an alternative to brown rice. In my cooking infancy, I always assumed that brown rice was the only alternative to its nutrient-vacant white cousin. But, over time, I learned that farro was arguably the most prosperous whole grains to include in my diet. Cup-for-cup, it provides an abundance of fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, as well as Vitamins A, B, C & E….not to mention, it delivers an uncompromised nutty elegance to any dish.
To me, the best way to enjoy farro is by drawing inspiration from its Italian heritage. Rather than creating a traditional farro soup, or “zuppa” as would the Tuscan locals, I prefer to highlight its heartiness by featuring it as the foundation for one of my favorite summertime salads. To begin, I simply cook the farro in a combination of water, vegetable broth and salt. Allowing it to cool slightly, I then toss the cooked farro with fresh arugula, Italian parsley, chives, olive oil and lemon. With a mingling in of fresh mozzarella and finely grated Parmesan, an absolutely perfect summertime salad is complete…perhaps even one suitable for the most striking of Tuscan tables.
Xoxo, and enjoy! E.
- 3 c Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth, plus ¼ cup reserved for salad preparation
- 3 c Water
- 1 14 oz bag Farro (Italian, Pearled)
- ½ t Salt (for the cooking water)
- 2 c Baby Arugula, coarsely chopped, packed
- ⅓ c Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped, packed
- 2 T Chive, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 6 T Olive Oil
- ½ t Salt
- ½ t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1½ c Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cubed
- ⅓ c Parmesan Cheese, finely grated, plus additional to garnish
- TO COOK THE FARRO
- In a medium-sized soup pot, bring the vegetable broth, water, farro and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil of medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes, or until tender. Using a fine mesh seive, drain the cooked farro and let rest in the seive with a damp papertowl draped over it. Set aside 15 minutes to rest and cool slightly.
- TO ASSEMBLE THE SALAD
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the arugula, italian parsley, chives, lemon zest, reserved vegetable broth, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, once the farro has rested for 15 minutes, add it to the dressed greens and toss well. Note, the farro will still carry some heat and is used to slightly wilt the greens. At this point, I set the farro and greens aside for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To finish the salad gently fold in the fresh mozzarella and the finely shredded paremsan cheese. Garnish with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and a little salt and pepper.
- This salad is perfect served at room temperature.
The easiest way to chop fresh chives is to cut them with kitchen sheers.