Monday, September 30, 2013

Four-Day Farro

Don't worry, it doesn't take four days to make this.

A few months ago, I was visiting my parents for the weekend, and made this recipe from the River Cottage Veg cookbook.  A few days later, my dad called me and told me that they were eating the leftovers for the fourth day straight, AND that he now likes farro better than brown rice, which is saying a lot, trust me!

For those of you who are also new to farro, it is an ancient Italian wheat variety.  It is chewy and nutty and falls somewhere between brown rice and wheat berries.  The recipe below is my variation on the recipe that was initially published in the River Cottage book.  You may also want to use the basic structure of the recipe and play around with the vegetables you add depending on the season.  In my opinion, this dish is perfect for fall.

This recipe serves 6 - 8 generously.


1 onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, crushed with back of knife but left whole
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry farro, cooked according to package directions (make sure to rinse first)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed (or 1/2 cup dry and cooked)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp toasted slivered almonds
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt, pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix butternut squash, fennel, onion, and garlic with olive oil.  Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes stirring part-way throughout.  You want it to be caramelized and brown, but not burned.

3. In the meantime, cook the farro in salted water and drain it.  It's okay if it sits at room temperature until the squash mixture cooks.  Also, if you are using canned beans, heat them through in a pot of water.

4. When everything has finished cooking, mix the farro with the mixture out of the oven including any oil/juices in the pan.  Add the lemon juice, dill, parsley, almonds, parmesan, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly.  Enjoy!


1. I like to add half a golden delicious apple, tossed in lemon juice, that has been finely diced.  It adds a really nice crisp freshness that contrasts nicely with the rich cheese.

2. Apparently when my parents got to day four of leftovers, they decided that it was time to change things up a bit, so they added diced yellow peppers that had been roasted on the barbecue.  Apparently, the results were pretty fantastic.

Shopping Tips:

1. The best way to buy farro, in my opinion, is in a vacuum-sealed bag/box from an Italian store.  When bought this way, it is very inexpensive and fresh.  You can also buy it from an organic or health store, but it will be much more expensive.  If you buy an imported from Italy brand, buy one that says "semi-perlato or semi-brillato", which means that it is semi-pearled and will cook much more quickly, usually in about 20 - 30 minutes.

2. One of the best kitchen purchases I ever made was my lemon reamer.  This very inexpensive tool will juice a lemon faster and more effectively than any fancy gadget you can find.


1. Obviously this lasts for quite a while in the fridge.

2. You could also mix in a bit more cheese and some egg, form the leftovers into patties, and shallow fry them.  Serve on top of dressed lettuce for a nice lunch.

Buon appetito!


  1. I remember this one! I felt I'd finally found something better than rice (which I'm not that fond of). Will try this one this weekend, too!

    1. Unbelievably, no one at my Safeway had even heard of Faro so I had to make this with brown rice! It turned out well-enough but would have preferred it with the Faro. Plus when I smashed the garlic cloves, I used the flat side of the knife so they were quite smashed up and subsequently spread throughout the other ingredients. Dad thought I had used too much onion but I'm pretty sure he was eating garlic! Oh well, not bad for a first attempt... learned some things at least!

    2. I buy mine for cheap at the Italian Centre, but you can also get it at specialty organic stores. It's worth it to go to one once in a while so that you can stock up on specialty pantry items.