Farro With Blistered Tomatoes, Pesto and Spinach
Here is an Italian-inspired recipe that uses store-bought or homemade pesto to season farro, which is then tossed with fresh spinach, roasted tomatoes, red onions and mozzarella for a complete vegetarian meal. Make it with fresh-from-the-market cherry tomatoes when they’re in season, but during the rest of the year, use grape tomatoes, as they tend to be more flavorful than cherry during the colder months. If you’d like, substitute arugula, or cooked broccoli rabe or kale, for the spinach. It tastes delicious warm or cold the next day — and topping it with shrimp, chicken or scallops can make it feel new again. Before reheating, add a bit more spinach, drizzle it with a little olive oil and give it a good stir.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1cup farro, rinsed
- 2pints cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1small red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 1-inch wedges
- 2tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the farro
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ¼cup store-bought or homemade pesto, plus more to taste
- 1lemon, zested (about 1 tablespoon) and juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2packed cups baby spinach
- 1(4-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, torn into chunks, or 1/2 cup ricotta salata, crumbled (optional)
- ¼cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
Step 1Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large covered pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and adjust the heat to maintain a medium boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until tender and not too chewy, about 30 minutes.
Step 2Meanwhile, on a sheet pan, combine the tomatoes and onion wedges with the oil, making sure everything is well coated and glistening, then season with salt, pepper and the red-pepper flakes. Roast until the tomatoes blister and slightly deflate, 25 to 30 minutes.
Step 3When the farro is done, drain, then pour into a serving bowl or back into the pot. Toss with some olive oil, then mix in the pesto. Add the lemon zest and juice, then stir in the spinach. Set aside to cool slightly.
Step 4Scrape the onions, tomatoes and their juices into the farro; season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the cheese, if using, then garnish with herbs and serve.