Saturday, May 28, 2011

Eleventh Hour Farro Salad


I know we're getting close to the move when there are just a few drops left of olive oil, enough butter for the remaining two slices of bread. Half used bags of pasta, grains and nuts are waiting anxiously to see what their fate will be over the next few days. We've done this so many times now that I've gotten really good at not wasting anything. My trips to the market are quick and light, since I can now count the meals I'll be preparing in Italy on one hand.


Emptying out my cupboards, I've haphazardly created a few favorites. For breakfast, we've been enjoying a porridge made of amaranth, quinoa, millet, oats and wheat germ. I soak the grains over night and cook them the next morning in plenty of water for about 25 minutes. Then I stir in butter, cinnamon and honey, sometimes a grated apple. Even little Roman likes it, which is a huge relief since it's so rich in fiber, protein and iron. Another breakfast of gladiators.

Today for lunch, I used up our farro, celery, carrot, raisins, pine nuts, hazelnuts, and our crema di balsamico, a concentrated form of balsamic vinegar. It's wonderful drizzled over a salad for a tangy, slightly sweet dressing. Farro is an ancient type of wheat and it's very popular in Italy. In fact, Italy is one of the few countries that still grows farro. It goes in soups, salads, becomes flour used to make breadsticks, breads, pasta, even cookies and cakes.

Eleventh Hour Farro Salad
If farro is not readily available in your area, try this salad with wheat berries or brown rice. I love the combination of crunchy celery and nuts and the sweet raisins. Makes a great lunch or side dish for grilled chicken.

2 cups farro
3 carrots, grated
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
crema di balsamico
olive oil

Cook the farro according to package instructions. In a large bowl, combine carrots, celery, hazelnuts, raisins, pine nuts and cooked farro (still warm). Drizzle with the balsamic cream and olive oil, salt and pepper if you like.


  1. Nicole: you must have such mixed feelings with your imminent departure... But you stored such wonderful memories... I hope you keep blogging wherever you are!

  2. Hi Nicole - I love farro and it is readily available in the DC area now! Look forward to meeting up once you've moved.

  3. I still haven't tried making farro. I must. Your porridge recipe looks great too. Thanks!

  4. Isn't it amazing how you sometimes stumble upon some of your favorite recipes accidentally, or simply out of need? Sad to think you are going, leaving this country, although nothing will really change for me online. But it is always nice to know there are people with the same background/passions living nearby when you are far from know what I mean?

  5. Amelia, Very mixed feelings indeed!! We move often, but it's always strange to live my life in little "snippets" however this was a good one in Rome!!

    Wendy, glad to hear farro is available and looking forward to making new contacts in the area :)

    Denise- farro is easy and healthy, love it in summer salads. The porridge is ridiculously healthy, not sure why I didn't think of it sooner!

    Fiona, glad to have "met" you on line, it will be nice to keep reading about Italy on your blog from the States!

  6. This looks great. I love farro but here is not available, I will try using the wheat berries sound like a great substitute!


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