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The American Chef in Italy

Farro Salad Is Perfect for Summer

Our American Chef in Tuscany, Gaetano Arnone, shares the storied history of farro in his region and, more importantly, he shares a great summer salad recipe as well.

farro salad divided into two bowls

Light and refreshing, a farro salad is a Tuscan summer favorite. Photo by Meigan Arnone

Summer here in Tuscany heats up before you know it, and along with the warmer days and nights comes the changing colors of the landscape. Here in Chianti Classico wine is King, followed by the Queen, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But there is a third crop that has made this land prized for centuries dating back to the Etruscans. Farro wheat. It was those three sister crops that sustained life in this region for millennia and is still prized amongst the local farmers and residents today. Here at Villa Le Corti in San Casciano Val di Pesa we still grow our own farro, and the golden shoots of tall grain play perfectly off the green grape leaves and the silver hue of the olive trees like an impressionist painting. With just a slight summer breeze, it seems as they just may be talking to each other.

Farro can be used in its whole grain form or milled into a fantastic flour for use in pastas and breads. As a contorni, or side-dish, it can be used as a substitute for a risotto dish called “Farrotto.” But the most popular application might be in the form of a cool farro salad. This ancient grain insalata changes through the seasons, but my favorite version is the Summer Farro Salad with crisp cucumber, tomato, and peaches. A dash of Red Wine Vinegar at the end keeps it bright and refreshing and is perfect for when the warm summer weather calls for a cooler meal and an even cooler glass of Vermentino or Sparkling Rosè.  

Summer Farro Salad

Summer Farro Salad

Recipe by Gaetano Arnone
5.0 from 1 vote
Servings

4-6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. 1 farro

  • 1 1 cucumber, seeds removed and diced

  • 1 1 peach, pit removed and diced

  • 100 g 100 cherry tomatoes cut in half

  • 1/2 1/2 Tropea onion (or standard red onion) diced

  • 10 large 10 basil leaves thinly sliced

  • 40 ml 40 red wine vinegar

  • 60 ml 60 extra virgin olive oil

  • 50 g 50 Parmigiano Reggiano

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Fill a medium stock pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Lightly salt the water and add the farro.
  • Boil gently until cooked but still al dente (about 20-25 minutes).
  • Strain the farro and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  • Let the farro drain in the sink or a large bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the cucumber, tomatoes, onions, peaches and farro and lightly fold the ingredients together until evenly mixed.
  • Mix in the oil, vinegar, and Parmigiano Reggiano until the cheese has helped to absorb most of the liquid and adheres to the farro.
  • Taste and decide how much salt and pepper you prefer before seasoning further.
  • Spoon the ingredients into bowls, sprinkle with the fresh basil and finish with a drizzle of your finest quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Enjoy!

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