Summer is at an end. I knew it was coming. The sudden decline in temperature. My instinct to reach for a scarf and opt for warmer pajama pants. The adorable jackets and wool knits on the racks of the stores on M Street.
And yet, I didn’t see it until it was right in my face at the farmers market last weekend with a sign advertising the last peaches of the season.
Excuse me? Last peaches? I beg your pardon?! I still have salads and tarts and jam to make! And I know with peaches go the good tomatoes, and with the tomatoes go farm fresh zucchini, and with zucchini go the perfect eggplant….I could go on and on. I am so, so sad.
So my solution of course was to clear out my fridge and make a dish as an homage to the vegetables of summer and early fall. This meal is chock full of vegetables, and the nutty farro makes for an incredibly filling dinner. In case you don’t know what farro is, it’s a grain from Italy that is high in protein and in fiber. I’d tell you to Wikipedia it, but I just looked at the article and it wasn’t helpful. It softens when cooked but retains a bit of a crunchy texture. Whatever the official definition is, I love it, and this dish is a great way to transition into fall with the last of summer’s produce.
End of Summer Farro
Inspired by David Rocco’s Insalata di Farro
I ended up cooking my farro a bit like a risotto (ladling in broth until softened), but you can also just let it soak and then cook it in some broth–whatever the package says or you prefer. I just chose the longer option because I like to avoid doing homework.
- ½ pound farro
- 2-4 cups vegetable broth (use 2 if you are soaking the farro and cooking it; 4 if you are making it risotto-style)
- ½-1 cups water (same reasons as above)
- ½ cup dry, white wine
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 chinese eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped (not pictured because I decided to add it after I took pics)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sprinkling of parmesan (optional)
- First, make your farro. There are two ways of doing this:
You can do this by soaking the farro for 25-minutes and then transferring it to a pot. Slightly smash your garlic cloves and throw those into the pot. After reserving 2 tablespoons of broth, cover the farro with the remainder of 2 cups broth and with ½-cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; cover and cook until farro is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the garlic.
Otherwise, you can make the farro risotto style. Heat four cups broth with 1 cup water in a small pot. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the liquid for cooking your vegetables. Mince your garlic and, in a different pot, add to one tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat until fragrant. Add in your farro and cook for about 2 minutes until slightly toasted. Then start ladling in your broth/water mixture, ½ cup at a time until it’s creamy and risotto-like but still has a bit of a bite. You might need less liquid than I’ve suggested.
Transfer farro to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pot, add 1½ tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add in chopped onions and let them start to soften. Then add in ½ cup of white wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up anything left in the pot from cooking the farro.
- Add chopped zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper and sauté until softened and cooked through. This takes between five and ten minutes. Add your two tablespoons of broth midway through cooking to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pot and to help them cook faster. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add your farro back to the pot and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and add in your parsley, parmesan (if using), and more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve warm.