Astaple grain of the early Romans, farro has found its way into traditional Italian soups, salads and even desserts. In Florence farro salad is a popular lunchtime option. It is one of those dishes that you can adapt to the season – consider grilled, sliced aubergine; blanched green beans; cherry tomatoes; baby spinach; olives; herbs such as marjoram or mint; and cubes of young pecorino cheese instead of mozzarella.
To make this a meal in itself, add some good-quality tinned tuna, cooked chickpeas or cannellini beans.
- 200g farro
- 1 courgette, cubed
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp red-wine vinegar, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 bunch (about 150g) rocket
- 10-12 basil leaves, torn
- 100g fresh mozzarelline (small mozzarella balls, such as bocconcini)
Cook the farro in a large saucepan of boiling water – at least 1 litre – with a pinch of salt. Boil until al dente, about 30 minutes.
Check every now and then – depending on the type of farro, it may take a little less time or a little longer.
Drain the farro and rinse in cold water to cool it down. Set aside to drain and cool completely.
Cook the courgette in the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat until golden, 5-7 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside.
Quarter the tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop the flesh. Set aside.
Place the red-onion slices in a small bowl with the red-wine vinegar and top with cold water – leave to soak for about 10 minutes to take away a little of the bite. Drain when needed.
Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl. Toss to combine well.
Drizzle with olive oil and red-wine vinegar to taste, and season with salt and pepper.