Farro (Triticum Dicoccum) is one of the oldest unhybridized forms of wheat and has been a part of the Italian diet since ancient Roman times (cited by Virgil in the Georgics, Book 1). The grain lost its position with the advent of the intensive modern wheat agriculture after the World Wars, but in the past 20 years, it has gone through a renaissance due to its small-scale farming methods, high nutritional value (farro is rich in fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E), toothsome texture, and wonderful nutty flavor.
Gianluigi Peduzzi of Rustichella d'Abruzzo collaborates with a group of local farmers and friends to grow a local variety called farro vestino in the area between Penne and the Gran Sasso, the highest peak of the Apennines. Farro thrives here in the stony, well-drained hillsides without the application of fertilizers and pesticides. Prior to milling, the grains are sifted and sorted through an advanced selection process, separating the whole ones of the finest quality. Rustichella d’Abruzzo Farro is 100% whole-grain and semi-pearled. The semi-pearling process maintains all three parts of the durum wheat kernel, the noble parts of the grain—the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. This particular process makes cooking farro easier, ensuring a delightful chewy bite, which will hold even when cold.
The versatility of farro makes it an appealing substitute for rice, as well as for serving in hot and cold dishes. Zuppa di farro (farro soup), farrotto (farro cooked as risotto), and panzanella di farro (farro salad) are some of the typical ways you will find farro featured in Italy. This hearty grain is wonderful as an accompaniment to mushrooms, wild game, and sausage. The starch it contains is very similar to that of rice and it is very low in gluten, making it easily digestible.
Soak farro in water for 20 minutes. Boil until al dente and drain. Use farro in salads, add to vegetable or legume soups, or season with your own favorite dressing.