Farro is an ancient grain with a naturally nutty flavor and toothsome, chewy texture. It once was a mainstay of Middle Eastern and European cooking, but fell out of favor agriculturally over the years, replaced by other members of the wheat family which are easier to grow. It’s remained a mainstay of Tuscan cooking though and is making a comeback elsewhere, partially for it’s taste and partially because of it’s nutritional profile — it’s high in protein and fiber. You should be able to find it at health food stores and specialty or Italian grocers. If not, you can substitute wild rice for this recipe. Serve alongside grilled lamb chops or pan-seared halibut.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cup farro
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon preserved lemon, chopped
- 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons basil, fresh
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the farro and stir to coat. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaf, and water and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and cook until the farro is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain and discard excess liquid. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the tomatoes, preserved lemon, chives, fresh basil, black olives, chickpeas and salt and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.