A New Favorite Take on an Old Mediterranean Grain

September 20, 2015 | Posted by Sally Jackson

Packed with complex carbohydrates and fiber, delicious and hearty whole grains play an important part in the Mediterranean diet. Look beyond rice and pasta, because it’s worth getting to know farro, amaranth, millet, freekah and wheat berries. From the ubiquitous grain salads of the region to barley studded Italian minestrone soup to a purple-tinged French crepe made with buckwheat flour, there are as many traditional recipes as there are modern takes on these ancient grains. And yes! They’re delicious – Bobby wouldn’t have them all over GATO’s menu if they weren’t, but just as importantly to me, at least, whole grains are a healthy choice.

I have to tip my hat to Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman for one of my family’s favorite whole grain meals (and she, in turn, thanks Martha Stewart). Her one-pan farro with tomatoes ticks off all the right boxes: it’s super yummy, healthy, fast (yes, it takes half an hour to cook, but that’s basically hands-off time), and can be pulled together with ingredients that I almost always already have on-hand. PERFECT.

I’ve been known to add some chickpeas, and sneak in a veggie cube or two, but you can’t really go wrong here. One adaptation to Smitten’s recipe is that instead of using the two finely sliced cloves of garlic she calls for, I add two whole crushed cloves of garlic to the pan and pull them out before serving. It's something I often do when I want a touch of garlic flavor without all the bite.

Let it be known that I also made this dish with some sad and wrinkly cherry tomatoes which would have otherwise been roasted or tossed. End result: just as tasty but some of the tomatoes did shed those skins while simmering. Perfectly acceptable, unless you are a tomato-skin hating three year old, so those were fished out with the garlic cloves. (Can’t stand tomato skins either? Here's an easy peeling tip.) Lots and lots of cheese later, this is one delicious one-pan farro with tomatoes.

Ingredients and Prep:

Bubbling away...

Those pesky tomato skins:

Here's the finished dish...Just. So. Good.

Again, you can find Smitten Kitchen's recipe and all sorts of info on farro and more here.