Lidia Bastianich doesn't traffic in trends, so I knew that this recipe in Lidia's Italy wasn't just thrown in to capitalize on farro's recent surge in healthy appeal. As she writes in the caption, it actually came from a restaurant called Le Lampare in Trani, Italy. The tuna, caper, and tomato sauce would probably go well with about any pasta shape (I certainly wouldn't mind it), but seems to really come alive when paired with the farro. I didn't quite expect this to work as well as it did, but I polished off my portion and quickly went back for seconds.
Why I Picked This Recipe: Everything else I've tried from Lidia's Italy has worked well, and I wanted to see what she would do with farro, especially since the recipe comes together so quickly.
What Worked: Because it is cooked separately, I worried that the farro wouldn't meld well with the sauce, but that's not the case. This really comes together as a cohesive dish, and the tuna added enough protein to make for a filling meal.
What Didn't: No complaints on this recipe.
Adapted from Lidia's Italy
- 1 pound farro
- 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt, divided
- 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 plump garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
- One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 4 tablespoons capers, drained
- Two 6-ounce cans tuna in olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Toss the farro in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Let it drain, and then dump it in a large pot, along with 6 cups of water, the bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer, and partially cover. Cook until the grains are cooked through, but are still a little al dente, about 30 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed, but drain off any water that is left. Discard the bay leaves.
Meanwhile, add 1/3 cup of the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add the garlic and peperoncino, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the capers. Let the mixture bubble for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
While that's cooking, drain the cans of tuna, and use your fingers to flake the tuna into 1/2-inch pieces. After the tomatoes have cooked for five minutes, add the flaked tuna to the skillet. Carefully stir the mixture, so that you don't break the tuna up too much. Cook, carefully stirring every minute or so, for another five minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium, and pour in the remaining olive oil (approximately 3 tablespoons). Stir in the farro, and cook until the farro is very hot and covered in the sauce, about one minute. Season with more salt, if needed. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.