Lidia Bastianich's Farro with Tuna and Tomatoes Recipe

Farro with Tuna and Tomatoes
Nick Kindelsperger

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

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 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


  1. Toss 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, 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 grains are cooked through, but are still a little al dente, about 30 minutes. Most of liquid should be absorbed, but drain off any water that is left. Discard bay leaves.

  2. Meanwhile, add 1/3 cup of olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add garlic and peperoncino, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the capers. Let mixture bubble for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. While that's cooking, drain cans of tuna, and use your fingers to flake tuna into 1/2-inch pieces. After tomatoes have cooked for five minutes, add flaked tuna to the skillet. Carefully stir mixture, so that you don't break tuna up too much. Cook, carefully stirring every minute or so, for another five minutes.

  4. Reduce heat to medium, and pour in remaining olive oil (approximately 3 tablespoons). Stir in farro, and cook until farro is very hot and covered in sauce, about one minute. Season with more salt, if needed. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
830 Calories
41g Fat
90g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 830
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 52%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 1663mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 15g 55%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 32mg 159%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 7mg 38%
Potassium 1117mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)