In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add farro and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Add water and salt to taste (I like 1 teaspoon) and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until farro is tender, about 15-18 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve, then spread farro out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
Here are the three main types of farro (farro is usually found in well-stocked grocery stores with other whole grains such as rice, quinoa, and wheat berries).
Pearled farro: The most common type found in American groceries. It has more of the outer husk removed and cooks the fastest, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Semi-pearled farro: About half of the grain’s husk and bran has been removed in the pearling process, making semi-pearled farro cook a little bit quicker than whole grain.
Whole farro: The entire grain is left intact (with little to no extra processing). Whole farro has the most flavor (and the most nutrients). However, that also means that it takes the longest to cook, 30 to 40 minutes.
Yield: This recipe (2 cups dried farro) makes about 5 cups cooked farro, or 10 servings (1/2 cup each).
Storage: Cooked, cooled farro keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezer: To keep the grain from clumping together as it freezes, spread it out on a sheet tray in the freezer. Once frozen, store in a freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave.
No rinsing required: Unlike quinoa, you don't have to rinse farro before you cook it.
Pre-toasting: Toasting the grains before cooking adds so much flavor. You can lightly toast farro grains in the oven (spread the dry grains out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in an oven set at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes) or on the stove (cook the dry farro in a dry skillet over medium heat stirring frequently, until lightly browned).
Cooking whole farro: Add farro to a large pot of boiling, salted water. Bring the pot back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the grains are tender but not mushy, about 30 to 40 minutes. Pull out a grain after the 15-minute mark to test for tenderness. Drain off the excess water and spread the cooked farro out on a baking sheet to cool.
Add aromatics: This healthy grain is a healthy blank canvas for whatever flavors you want to incorporate. Simmer it in chicken broth, apple cider, or add some vegetables (carrot, celery, bay leaf, herbs, onion) to the pot as it cooks.
Cool it: Be sure to let the cooked farro cool before adding to a salad. The outer layer of the grain benefits from a chance to dry out a bit, which prevents it from getting too soft. That makes it stand up to vinaigrettes and sauces better.
Serving suggestions: Serve warm as a twist on rice pilaf with a drizzle of good olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and a squirt of lemon juice. Or, you can add a scoop or two to any brothy soup. And of course, you can toss it in with just about any salad.