Lemony Farro Pasta Salad With Goat Cheese and Mint
Combining rice-shaped orzo with chewy farro makes for a very satisfying pasta salad, with diverse textures and a nutty flavor. Even better, you can cook the farro and orzo in the same pot, and they can be dressed up to a day in advance. Use this basic recipe as a template for your own combinations. Here, a mix of creamy goat cheese, sweet dried apricots and sliced almonds are tossed with fresh herbs and a mildly spicy lemon dressing. But add what you have and what you love; the orzo and farro can take it, with grace. You can dress the orzo and farro mixture up to one day ahead, but don’t add the remaining ingredients until just before serving. The recipe feeds a crowd, so if you’re not making it for a party, consider halving everything, or plan on eating leftovers for lunch all week long.
- Serves: 10 persons
- Kosher salt
- 1cup farro
- 2bay leaves
- 1pound orzo
- ¾cup diced dried apricots
- ¾cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¾cup thinly sliced celery
- 3tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾cup sliced almonds
- 2cups baby spinach leaves (2 ounces)
- 1cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)
- ½cup torn mint leaves
- ½cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2large lemons
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- ¼teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- ⅔cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Step 1Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add farro and bay leaves and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add orzo to the pot and continue to simmer until farro and pasta are cooked through but still al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes longer.
Step 2While farro is cooking, prepare the dressing: Finely grate zest from the lemons, and place zest in a large bowl. Squeeze juice from 1 1/2 lemons and add to zest along with salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes, whisking to combine. Gradually whisk in oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice from the other lemon half, or both, if needed.
Step 3Drain farro-pasta mixture, discarding bay leaves. Add to bowl with dressing and toss well. Stir in apricots. Let farro and pasta cool, soaking up the dressing. This can be done up to 1 day in advance. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Step 4In a small bowl, combine onions, celery, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Let sit while the pasta cools, at least 20 minutes.
Step 5Just before serving, add onion mixture and almonds to the bowl with the farro and pasta and toss well. Gently fold in spinach, goat cheese, mint and parsley. Taste and add more lemon, red-pepper flakes or salt if needed.
Step 6Drizzle with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper before serving.