Farro with slow-roasted tomatoes, artichokes, olives & oregano

Farro with slow-roasted tomatoes, artichokes, olives & oregano

New Feast
Alan Benson

We are relatively new converts to farro, which, like spelt and kamut, is another ancient variety of wheat. Farro – also known as emmer wheat – was one of the earliest crops to be domesticated in the Fertile Crescent and it has a lovely nutty, chewy quality. Farro is sometimes accused of being a little bland, but we find it helps enormously to cook it with plenty of aromatics before you add any other ingredients. This makes it so comfortingly delicious that we have been known to eat it on its own – albeit with lots of butter, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

We often treat farro like bulgur wheat, couscous and other starchy grains and use it cold, as a base for salads but it also works superbly well in hot dishes. We like to pair it with robust flavours, such as the olives, chilli and slow-roasted tomatoes in this Mediterranean-inspired pilaf.


Quantity Ingredient
150g farro
500ml water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Turkish red pepper paste, (see note)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick celery
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme, plus ½ tablespoon thyme leaves
30ml olive oil
60g parmesan
30g pitted black olives
2 good-quality artichokes in oil, torn apart
6 Slow-roasted tomatoes with pomegranate & thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
freshly ground black pepper
big squeeze lemon juice
Labneh, strained for 12 hours, to serve


  1. Put the farro in a medium saucepan with the water, vinegar, pepper paste, salt, celery, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for around 30 minutes, without stirring. The liquid will absorb as it cooks, but add a little more water if it gets too dry. When all the liquid has absorbed and the farro is tender (it will still have a slight chewy bite), tip into a sieve and fish out and discard the aromatics.
  2. Transfer the farro to a large mixing bowl and stir in the olive oil and half of the parmesan. Fold in the olives, artichokes, slow-roasted tomatoes and oregano and taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper if need be, then add a big squeeze of lemon juice, top with labneh, the rest of the parmesan and serve straight away.


  • If you don't want to make it yourself, you’ll find Turkish red pepper paste in Middle Eastern grocers and some specialist food stores.
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