After creating my Pine Nut and Parsley Pesto with Grape Tomatoes and Italian Farro recipe a few weeks ago, I was anxious to create another dish using this chewy, pasta-like grain. I also had just picked up a few cartons of some lovely grape tomatoes at my favorite Italian market and was really, really excited to use them (tomato season is here again – yay!). So I created this Italian Farro with Sausage, Grape Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts recipe. Originally I thought I would have the rapini go right in the dish, but I ultimately decided to serve it on the side. This was my first time cooking rapini, and I really enjoyed it. Though there were less of the broccoli buds and more of the leaves than I had envisioned, I thought it was very tender and delicious. I got the idea for the cooking method of boiling and then sauteeing it from the Andy Boy site – though I didn’t follow its method exactly. I simplified it, and it turned out fine.
When choosing a tomato sauce, I like to go for one with no sugar added, as many prepared tomato sauces – organic or otherwise – are loaded with the stuff. My favorite no-processed-sugar-added tomato sauce brand that I’ve found is The Silver Palate. It’s not organic (ideally, it would be), but its sauces contain simple ingredients and are delicious. I used its tomato basil sauce for this recipe.
Another note: this recipe makes a lot of the farro dish – at least six servings, I’d say – but not a lot of the rapini in comparison. If serving this dish to more than three people, I would double the rapini recipe.
Italian Farro with Sausage, Grape Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts:
-1 1/2 cups precooked Italian farro (I used one 8.5-ounce package)
-1 lb. Italian sausage
-2 tbs. plus 1 tsp. grapeseed oil
-1/2 medium onion, cut into small slices
-2 tsp. minced garlic
-2 tbs. pine nuts
-1 cup red grape tomatoes
-1 cup yellow grape tomatoes
-1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
-1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
-10 large basil leaves, sliced up or shredded, plus more for garnish
-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
-1/2 tsp. black pepper
-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
-1/4 tsp. oregano
-1 bunch rapini, with lower stems removed
-2 tsp. grapeseed oil
-1 tsp. minced garlic
-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
-1/2 tsp. black pepper
Cook farro according to package instructions (mine required bringing the 1 1/2 cups of farro to a boil in 2 1/4 cups of water, then reducing to a simmer, covering, and cooking for 10 minutes). If you bought your sausage in one large piece, cut it up into four or five pieces so it is easier to cook and add it to a large frying pan with one tablespoon of the oil. Cook sausage over medium heat for about ten minutes, flipping every two minutes or so, until it is well-browned and looks fully cooked. Set aside, and once cool, cut up into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Take the remaining tablespoon of grapeseed oil and add it to a pot with the sliced onion. Bring to high heat, and cook for three minutes, stirring frequently, then reduce to medium and cook for another seven minutes, stirring about every minute or so to ensure they don’t burn. Add the teaspoon of oil, the garlic, and the pine nuts to the mixture and cook until pine nuts are lightly toasted, about another minute or two.
Once everything is done cooking, add to a large mixing bowl the farro, the sausage chunks, and the onion-garlic-pine-nut mixture. Dice tomatoes in half and add those to the bowl, along with the tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, basil, and spices, and mix well. The mixture will likely need to be warmed before eating, so you can add the amount you will be serving to a large pot and let sit it over low heat for a few minutes right before doing so, stirring occasionally.
To prepare the rapini: add it to a large pot of boiling water and cook for about two minutes, then drain and add it to a pan with the oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Sautee over medium heat for about three minutes.
Serve the farro, garnished with parmesan cheese and sliced basil, alongside hearty servings of the rapini.