Farro for many people is one of those grains that you’ve heard about but don’t quite know what do do with. It cooks like rice, but is more forgiving if you leave it on too long, has more protein than quinoa, and has a great earthy nutty flavour that makes it work well in salads like this one.
1.125 litres (4½ cups) water
1 tbsp salt, plus 1 tsp extra
125 ml (½ cup) apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
290 g (1½ cups) farro
1 very small red onion, cut into half-moon slices
½ each white, yellow and green zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds (approx. 250gm)
1 large lemon, zest and juice, plus 1 tsp lemon juice extra
80 ml (? cup) olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ long red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced
1 cup coarsely grated grana padano
½ cup roughly chopped basil
1½ cups chopped parsley leaves
½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Combine the water and 1 tbsp salt in a large saucepan. Add the vinegar and bay leaf. Bring to the boil over high heat, then add the farro. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the farro is chewy and al dente. Drain the farro, and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, soak the onion slices in lukewarm water for 10 minutes to make the flavour less harsh. Drain and dry the onion slices.
Toss the zucchini rounds with the extra 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp lemon juice. Stand for 15 minutes or until it softens.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for 1 minute or until translucent and soft. Transfer to a mortar and pestle. Add the lemon zest and juice, and remaining 60 ml (¼ cup) oil and stir to make a vinaigrette.
Place the farro in a serving bowl and fold in the vinaigrette. Fold in the onion and zucchini, then the parmesan, and herbs. Adjust the lemon juice, if needed.
Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve at room temperature.