Farro is an ancient grain. In fact, it's the oldest grain there is and it is believed that all other grains derive from it. It was a daily staple in the diets of Ancient Romans, as well as people in the Mediterranean and the Near East. However because it's difficult to grow and is a low yielding crop, it nearly became extinct. Nowadays it is grown mostly Mugello region of Tuscany. It is currently becoming more popular with the health conscious as well as in upscale restaurants. It's quite high in protein, fiber, B complex vitamins and is very low in gluten, which is good for people with gluten allergies.
Similar to spelt, wheat berries and barley, farro has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It's great in soups since it doesn't get mushy even if it's over-cooked and it's excellent on its own as the base of a salad or a side dish. Its unique texture makes it a nice contrast for virtually any vegetable, nut, or dried fruit. Try it tossed with chopped tomatoes and Kalamata olives, a handful of fresh herbs, and drizzled with olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar. Combine it with toasted pine nuts and currents or grilled eggplant or roasted squash.
Nutrition Content of Farro
½ cup serving of uncooked farro provides:
How to Cook Farro
Note on cooking farro: as with all grains, pearled farro will take less time to cook than semi-pearled farro, which will take less time to cook than whole.
Cooking time: 25-40 minutes
Liquid per cup of grain: 2 cups
How to cook farro or emmer wheat: Combine with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for up to 40 minutes, until grains are tender and have absorbed all of the liquid.