The Re-birth of an Ancient Grain

Thank a friend for supplying the motivation I could have generated myself to experiment with a new grain.  Actually, it’s anything but new; in fact it’s ancient.  The type of farro (wheat) I experimented with has been cultivated in Italy for centuries and is semi-pearled, so some of the bran is removed which speeds cooking.  No overnight soaking.

The prep was simple.  I first sweated 1/2 of a large yellow onion, finely chopped, in a bit of olive oil and set it aside.  Using the same pan, I tossed 1 cup of farro into  7-8 cups of boiling water with salt and 1 more Tbsp olive oil.  Cooking time can vary and as with any grain, I begin testing for doneness 7-10 minutes prior to recommended cooking times.  It turns out that 25 min was ideal.

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Just prior to starting the farro, I sliced two fennel bulbs lengthwise into 1/4″ slices, cutting IMAG1996the cores off first, and chopped the fennel fronds.  I placed the fennel and several carrots sliced of similar width in a roasting dish, and bathed the veggies lightly in olive oil, a generous portion of dried thyme and freshly ground pepper.  The dish went in a 350 degree oven, and I turned the vegetables every 10 min.  Total roasting time was 35 min.

The al dente farro has a satisfying chew and a deep nuttiness.  The grains separate easily.  I added 1/2 C of grated pecorino cheese and the chopped fronds, then served it with the roasted vegetables.

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I love the substance and heartiness of this grain and, in fact, I could see it with cinnamon and a bit of cream and a fresh berry garnish for breakfast.  Great versatility, and totally delicious.

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