"You don't have to toast farro before you cook it, but I know that once you've tasted farro made with this toasting method, you'll never look back," says chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene's in Portland. "This basic method calls for 3 to 5 minutes of toasting, but if you're patient and have some time, you can toast the farro even more deeply. Stir constantly and keep an eye on it; it will only intensify the flavor."
This recipe goes with: Fava, Farro, Pecorino, and Salami Salad
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
1 cup farro
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons kosher salt
How to Make It
Put a nice glug of oil into a large skillet that has a lid and heat over medium heat. Add smashed garlic and chile flakes and cook slowly to toast garlic so it's beginning to get soft, fragrant, and nicely golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Add farro and cook over medium heat, stirring more or less constantly so grains toast evenly, for 3 to 5 minutes. They will darken slightly and become quite fragrant.
Add water, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, adjust heat to a nice simmer, and cook until farro is tender but not so much that it has "exploded" and popped fully open--it will be mushy if cooked that long. Depending on your farro, this could take 15 to 30 minutes or even a bit longer.
Drain farro well. If you're using farro warm, you're all set. If you want to use it cold, such as in a salad, dump it onto a baking sheet, toss with a tbsp. of olive oil, and spread it out to cool.
Recipe Adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg (Artisan Books). Copyright 2017. Ava Gene's, Portland