This delicious quick dinner recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen food blog, where it has become a bit of a cult classic in just a few months. And for good reason. This is going to become a dinner staple recipe (it has for me).
This one-pot recipe couldn’t be easier to make and is a real 30-minute meal. If you’ve always wanted to try farro, or want to eat more of it but are looking for new farro recipes, this is the dish for you. It’s a healthy dinner but feels luxurious. You simply add farro to a pot, throw in a few basic ingredients (as Deb says, who doesn’t have an onion and some tomatoes that need to be used up?) and you have an easy dinner that is much more than the sum of its parts. The farro cooks in its own delicious stock of garlic and tomatoes, the onions become soft and sweet, and it’s finished with a glug of good olive oil and a showering of parmesan. This is one of those dishes where it’s worth dusting off that expensive gift bottle of olive oil that you never use, as you’ll really taste it as the seasoning at the end.
Even better, this recipe is a blank canvas for other flavours and ingredients. I like to throw in a handful of rocket or baby spinach in the last minute of cooking just until it wilts. Have a few loose mushrooms rolling around the fridge? Slice and add them. Throw a fried egg on top. Not sure about farro? Use couscous. And leftovers make a great next-day lunch idea.
2 cups water
1 cup farro
1/2 large brown or Spanish onion
2 cloves garlic
250g cherry tomatoes
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
Up to 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optonal)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Few basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Freshly-grated parmesan cheese, for serving
1. In a medium cast-iron pot or saucepan, add the water and farro while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Add each ingredient to the pot as you finish preparing it: thinly slice the onion into quarter-moons. Thinly slice garlic cloves. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Add salt, pepper flakes (to taste) and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot, and set a timer for 30 minutes.
3. Bring uncovered pot (you won’t need a lid) up to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. When the timer rings, the farro should be perfectly cooked (tender but with a pleasant chew), and the cooking water should be almost completely absorbed. Check for seasoning. If the farro is still hard, keep it simmering for another 5 minutes.
4. Serve with a glug of your best extra-virgin olive oil, basil leaves and shavings of freshly-grated parmesan.
What’s your favourite one-pot meal?
Julia has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam, and New York, and is obsessed with food. She's either cooking or thinking about what to eat next. Follow Julia on Twitter.