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Farro with Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes, Onions, & Many Herbs

If I had to pick just one whole grain to cook with (and thank goodness I don’t have to!!), I would likely pick farro. It is so versatile: robust in salads, soothing in soups, toothsome in risotto-style dishes. It has a decidedly firm bite when cooked al dente, and can be toasted lightly in olive oil or butter before adding liquid, to intensify its nutty flavor.

Feel free to experiment with other seasonal vegetables instead of the more summery eggplants and tomatoes below; my farmer’s market still had beautiful end-of-summer produce a week ago, but butternut or acorn squash would be lovely instead, as would shiitake mushrooms, beets, or even cauliflower. Just roast the vegetables of your choice until tender while you boil the farro, then combine and enjoy.

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish

For the vegetables:

  • 2 Japanese eggplants, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the farro:

  • ¾ cup farro
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus extra as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra as needed
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ cup mixed fresh herbs (basil, oregano, Italian parsley, chives, oregano, cilantro, mint, and tarragon)

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Make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 375° (preferably set on convection bake).

Line an 11-inch x 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Roast the vegetables for 30 to 35 minutes, or until just tender (the eggplants will take the longest to cook through; undercooked eggplants are spongy and bitter, so be sure to cook them all the way through). Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the farro: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the farro and cook until chewy but tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking, then drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Finely mince the garlic with the mixed herbs until very fine. Stir into the farro along with the roasted vegetables, taste for salt and pepper, and adjust as needed. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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