This recipe was inspired by a similar salad at Caffe Falai, a little skinny restaurant downtown in Soho. When we ate it, we knew it was a great healthy, hearty dish that would be perfect for lunch or dinner. We couldn't believe how easy (and, to be honest, better) our at-home version turned out. Oh, and those grape tomatoes? They were grown in Connecticut. Who knew?
The Caffe Falai version had zucchini and eggplant in it, plus slices of melted fontina cheese on top. We don't love eggplant and zucchini is out of season, but we knew roasted carrots, onion, mushrooms, and garlic would work well. We splurged on the radicchio, and we were really craving some juicy, roasted grape tomatoes when we spotted locally grown ones (from Connecticut) at Whole Foods. Jackpot.
The problem was getting the farro. As we know, it is not spelt. It is also not easily found, at least in our neighborhood stores. We eventually found it at Garden of Eden but paid $7 for the bag. So yes, we will be savoring every bite of this.
Still, it is divine. Seriously full of flavor, nutty, chewy, and salty. We diced up our fontina and stirred it in with the vegetables, then drizzled a balsamic vinaigrette over the top.
Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 cup grape tomatoes
6-8 cremini mushrooms, cut into small chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1 small red onion, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 of a small head of radicchio, cored and sliced into chunks
1 cup farro
2-3 ounces fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
small handful of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and onion in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, and roast for 15 minutes, stirring once. Add the radicchio to the pan, toss to get it covered in a bit of oil, and cook everything for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain the farro. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, season with salt, and add the farro. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until soft but still chewy in the center. Drain.
Combine the cooked farro and vegetables, then add the fontina and parsley. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, seasoning with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the farro mixture.
Related: A sweeter, nuttier version: Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Persimmons, and Pecans
(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)