Italian hearty lunch, yet there is not beef, pork, or pasta? How can this be! Well Italians actually eat a very diverse diet of vegetables, grains, nuts, herbs, and fruit. That is the majority of the diet, with of course the addition of animal protein, cheese, and wine. Italy is so rich with their gastronomy that they are one of the best models a balanced diet.
Broccolini, which in Italian means little broccoli is traditionally used when making orecchiette (little ear) pasta with sausage. The bitterness of the broccolini helps to cut the fat of the dish as well as provide a texture difference to the pasta and sausage. And of course its a veggie so rich in vitamins and minerals. Using it in this dish it is the meaty component, so by pan sauting it at high temperature you get more of the bitter bold flavors. Also it helps to cut the fattiness of the olive oil that I used to cook with it and garnish the farro.
Farro is an ancient Italian grain, with a chewy bite and nutty flavor. It is one of my most favorite grains. It is a whole grain and rich in fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals. The garnish of pignoli or pine nuts in English adds to the texture difference and another healthy fat to the dish. Farro is used as a salad grain in a lot of recipes in Italy. So why not make it like the Italians. Finish of the dish with a fruity extra virgin olive oil and buon appetito!
Yields 2 servings
1 bunch of brocollini- 1/4 of the bottom part of the stems removed
3/4 cup farro
1 1/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons pine nuts - toasted
2 tablespoons fresh mint- minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt + pepper
In a pan add the farro, water and a pinch or 2 of salt. Bring it to a boil, lower heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 13-15 minutes. Once cooked fork the grains and let it come to room temperature. You can help cool it down by spreading the cooked farro on a plate and placing it in the fridge.
Meanwhile, add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan, over medium/high heat. Add the broccolini, season with salt and pepper.
Let them saute, and wilt. turn half way through cooking.
Remove the broccolini, and since the pan is still hot, add the pine nuts and let them toast. Keep an eye on them because they can burn quickly.
Once the farro is cooled, add the minced mint and toss together.
Serve and enjoy!