The oldest cultivated grain in the world…….
Even though this title sounds long, the actual dish is really simple, fresh and delightful – quite frankly. Farro had intrigued me for some time but I didn’t hold out too much hope as even though I like spelt pasta, I haven’t yet tried a wholemeal pasta that has gratified me and would rather opt for white pasta or whole grains.
This is a nice nutty substitute and Italians love it too (far more appealing than other fleeting health food ingredients) and considering I eat pasta 4/7 nights a week – great alternative that I will weave into our weekly dinners.
I created this combination with the intention of ending up with a light, fresh, summery flavour and I think it has worked very nicely. Would be great with the inclusion of salmon or chicken and toasted crumbs.
Ingredients Serves 2
- Enough farro patsa/spaghetti for 2 (I used almost 2/3 of a spaghetti pack)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 shallots, chopped small
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and diced small
- 15-20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 garlic cloves
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large handfuls of grated parmesan or pecorino
- Bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off and discarded then chopped into 2cm pieces on an angle
- Sprig of chives, chopped small
- Handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted
Heat a large pan of boiling, salted water.
Prepare all ingredients by chopping, grating, juicing, zesting and slicing as it’s quick once you get going.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and add the shallots, cook over a med-high heat for a few minutes before adding the chilli and then the tomatoes. Sauté for a few minutes so the shallots are soft and golden. Remove from heat.
Put your pasta into the boiling water along with the skinned, whole garlic cloves and time until al dente. Remove the garlic cloves after about 5 minutes, add to a pestle and mortar with 1 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and grind until you have a paste. 40 seconds before the pasta is ready, add the chopped asparagus and then drain.
Add the pasta and asparagus back to the pan with the garlic oil and then mix in the cheese. Add the shallot mixture, chopped chives and stir over a medium heat to warm and combine.
Serve sprinkled with pine nuts and extra parmesan and black pepper.