Farro is an ancient hard wheat grain from Italy that is deliciously nutty and chewy and packed with beneficial fiber and nutrients. We love its versatility - using it as we would rice in a risotto, tossing it in soups and stews, or, as in this recipe, combining it with an assortment of roasted vegetables and Italian stewed tomatoes for a hearty main dish. Farro is so satisfying and “meaty” in texture that we often use it in our Meatless Monday dishes or when we want a low-fat, healthy dinner.
There are three main types of farro (whole, pearled and semipearled), so check your package for appropriate cooking time for the variety you purchase. Whole farro takes the longest time to cook (and often requires soaking overnight) and is bolder in flavor, pearl will take the least time to cook. Regardless of the type, the liquid ratio is 2 cups liquid to 1 cup of farro.
Hearty Farro with Roasted Vegetables and Tomatoes
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups pearled farro
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
2 small zucchini, cut into large chunks
3 small slender eggplants (like Japanese), or 1 small globe eggplant, cut into large chunks
1 green or colored (red, yellow, orange pepper), stem and seeds removed then chopped into large chunks
1 small yellow onion, quartered (the larger pieces cut again in half)
Olive oil spray
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
In a Dutch oven or large pot bring stock and farro to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until farro is tender. Add the canned tomatoes, stir to combine, and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut all vegetables into uniformly sized pieces. Place cut vegetables on a baking sheet, spray with olive oil, and toss until well-coated with oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast, tossing every so often so that they brown evenly on all sides, about 35 minutes or until tender and nicely browned.
Remove from oven and add vegetables to farro. Gently stir until the vegetables are incorporated with the farro. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately. Excellent with fresh Parmesan cheese grated over the top.