Farro is not one of those ingredients that most people have laying around in their kitchens. That’s a pity. It has become a staple in my house due to its versitility, texture, flavor and health benefits. I know, I know. People are going to say, I don’t know what farro is. I can’t pronounce it, I can’t cook it, and I sure as heck can’t find it in the grocery store. Ha! Only three out of those four points is true. Unfortunately it is the latter point that will more than likely provide you with the most difficulty. But I will take each point one by one.
I don’t know what farro is. Easy! Farro is an ancient grain that originates in the Mediterranean and the Near East. Some claim that farro is the original grain from which all other grains were derived. These days farro is most commonly produced in Italy. While some may try to tell you that farro and spelt are the same thing, don’t believe them. It simply isn’t true. If you are looking for a farro substitute, you can try barley, but you’ll be disappointed.
I don’t know how to pronounce farro. Mystery solved. It is pronounced FAHR-roe.
I can’t cook farro. Yes, you can. You just need time to cook farro. First, you need to soak farro for about 4 hours in cold water to soften it. Then you need to cook it for about 30 minutes in liquid. The ratio of farro to liquid is 1:2. In other words, you need one part farro to every 2 parts liquid. Cooking time can range from between 20 - 30 minutes, depending on how “toothsome” you prefer your whole grains.
I sure as heck can’t find farro in my grocery store. I have to admit, I don’t have much to combat that point. I mean, I can’t find farro in my grocery store(s). I went to the health food sections, the grains sections, the bulk sections and everywhere else I could think of to find farro in my neighborhood stores. Ok, to be honest, I didn’t really expect to find it there. So I drove across town to find it in a more upscale grocery store. To my chagrin, no farro. Finally, I broke down and went to Whole Foods. They didn’t have it in the bulk section, but they did have it pre-packaged by the barley and the rye on the shelves. And they had only three packages. But, if you don’t have a Whole Foods near you, or if the one near you is as awful as the one near me, you can find it on Amazon.comof all places.
But on to the recipe. Or the non-recipe, which is most often the case for me. My Farro and Arugula Salad was served with sliced, grilled flank steak atop. The farro was soaked for around four hours in cold water, then drained. Then the farro was cooked, 1 part farro to 2.5 parts chicken stock. First it was brought to a boil, then gently simmered for about 30 minutes.
The farro was cooled down to room temperature and then tossed with some of the fresh, “salady” produce that I had gotten in my produce box for the week. As it was early spring, that meant arugula, radishes, ramps, scallions. I also added hot house tomatoes and hot house cucumbers from the farmers market. Before adding the produce, I tossed the farro with some olive oil and red wine vinegar. Then, after combining the produce, I again tossed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
When you make farro, I recommend that you make enough to be used throughout the week. Farro makes a great grainy side dish, and it is so versatile that you won’t get bored with it.