Farro with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Adpated from Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Bastianich
I cooked this dish about a week ago from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy. I got the book a year ago for Christmas, and cooked a couple dishes right away. I recently picked the book up again and cooked three dishes just this past week and have a couple more planned for this next week. The dishes are fairly quick and easy and most use staple ingredients I already have. This dish makes a huge amount, so it’s great for company or for freezing extra for an easy meal later in the month. You could cut the recipe in half, but it takes the same amount of time to make more or less, so I would just make it all. It’s best to make fresh roasted peppers, rather than using the jarred peppers for this dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6-8 main course
4 bell peppers (red or mixed red and yellow)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup raisin, preferably golden, soaked in 1 cup of hot water for about 10 minutes (at least)
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 28-35 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, crushed with your hands
1 lb. farro
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4 quart sauce pan for the farro, a large deep skillet at least 12 inches
Roast and peel the peppers according to the directions here.
While the peppers are roasting/cooling start cooking the farro.
Rinse the 1 pound of farro and place it in the 4 qt. sauce pan with 6 cups of water, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Bring the farro to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, cover it with a lid and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, until cooked through but still firm. Turn off the heat and keep it covered.
While the farro cooks make the sauce. If you haven’t soaked the ½ cup of golden raisins in hot water, do that now. Thinly slice the onion into half moon shapes. Peel and smash the garlic cloves. Pour the tomatoes from the can with the juice into a large bowl and crush by hand. Peel the peppers and slice into 1 ½ to 2 inch squares.
Heat your large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add in the thinly sliced onion, smashed garlic clove, 2 bay leaves, and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions for about 5 to 8 minutes or until the onion begins to soften and become translucent.
Add the hand-crushed tomatoes into the saucepan. Rinse the can and/or bowl with 1 cup of water and pour it into the saucepan too. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce slightly thickens.
Drain the raisins and add them into the sauce. Spoon the cooked farro into the saucepan with the sauce. Stir to coat the farro with the sauce. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Gently stir in the roasted pepper pieces. Cook for medium heat until everything is combined and hot.
Transfer to a serving dish, or individual dishes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and chopped Italian parsley.
Serve as a main dish or along side roasted chicken or pork.