A traditional dish of the hills around Lucca. It calls for cracked farro, which cooks faster. I first heard of farro from Giada De Laurentiis, who made a salad from it (a recipe which I've posted). Farro is similar to wheat berries.
- Preheat oven to 370 degrees F (180 C).
- Prepare the farro: Wash it well, picking out impurities such as bits of chaff, pebbles, or bad grains. In a medium saucepan, combine the farro with about 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt, then turn heat to high and bring it all to a boil.
- When it has come to a boil, reduce the temperature to medium low, cover, and let simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat, drain mixture well, then pour it all into a large ceramic or porcelain bowl and set aside to let cool.
- When cooled, combine it with the remaining ingredients except the butter and the bread crumbs.
- Use the butter and bread crumbs to lightly grease and coat a 9-inch pan, pour the farro mixture into it, and bake it in a 370 F (180C) oven for about 40 minutes.
- This will work well as a second course, with a tossed salad.
- Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' method of cooking farro and from a recipe in Luciano Migliolli's "Il Farro e le sue Ricette." Farro: Grain of the Legions Grano Farro has a long and glorious history - it is the original grain from which all others derive, and fed the Mediterranean and Near Eastern populations for thousands of years; somewhat more recently it was the standard ration of the Roman Legions that expanded throughout the Western World. Ground into a paste and cooked, it was also the primary ingredient in plus, the polenta eaten for centuries by the Roman poor.
What a fun recipe for this wonderful Ash Wednesday. I only had 8 oz (1 cup of Farro) and good thing I did, as the filling was almost too much for my pie plate! Note that I used normal Farro and not cracked, followed the cooking instructions and it was a bit mushy in the end so beware if you use cracked Farro! I also subbed asiago for the parm with great results. I threw in about 1/4 cup fresh chopped spinach (another great addition), nixed the nutmeg (not a fan) and subbed the salt/pepper for some Greek seasoning. Next time I will definitely use 4 eggs, as it completely crumbled apart on our plates. . .thinking the extra egg would hold it together.