Farro may be the trendy and hip grain of the moment, with everyone latching on to it like it’s the hot new kid in town. But on the Italian peninsula, it’s old news—they’ve been using farro for centuries. It’s even believed to have been a staple food amongst the ancient Roman armies. In that time, the Italians have figured out ways to use the stuff that stretch well beyond your run of the mill risottos and salads. Farro’s nutty, earthy taste makes it a suitable addition to pretty much anything grain-based. It can also be milled into a flour to make pastas, breads, cakes and more.
So don’t think of it as just a dinner plate side. Farro takes center stage in these recipes that accord it major grain status. While you can find pearled and semi-pearled farro in many grocery stores nowadays, look to Italian specialty stores and online for items such as farro flour and farro pasta.
1. Springtide Bread with Farro
In breads, farro adds rounded flavor without the heaviness that some other grains have. This recipe takes advantage of those notes, using them to back up add-ons like green garlic and Aleppo pepper. Get the recipe here.
2. Farro Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts
With farro pasta, you get a depth that pairs best with other earthy ingredients. Here, maitake mushrooms make for a natural mate, resulting in a dish with woodsy instincts. Get the recipe here.
3. Farro Pasta with Chicken Scarti and Borlotti Beans
That depth also lends itself to some truly adventurous pairings, like this pasta with beans, chicken, and a liver-based sauce. Get the recipe here.
4. Cheesy Apple-Farro Cakes
Cooked farro's texture makes for a delightfully chewy filling in these pan-fried patties. Sharp cheddar and green apple also get in on the action here, adding a tangy twist. Get the recipe here.
5. Tuscan Bundt Cake with Farro Flour
Think of farro flour as a whole wheat's more dainty cousin. In cakes like this Tuscan-style bundt, it adds that grainy oomph without weighing it down. Get the recipe here.
6. Farro Pudding
Farro for dessert? Yes, please! This recipe revamps standard rice pudding with the grain, adding in cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins for a newfangled comfort food. Get the recipe here.
7. Coconut Farro Porridge with Mango
And for the morning after, a wholesome porridge to start your day. In a true about face from your average oatmeal, this one goes for a tropical touch with coconut and mango. Get our Coconut Farro Porridge with Mango recipe.
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.