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Farro salad with slow-roasted tomatoes and rocket pesto

Try this delicious summer salad from Italian food writer and photographer Valeria Necchio

by Psychologies

tomato salad

Tomatoes are in season now and they are packed with antioxidants, including lycopene, an antioxidant that is highly effective in combating cancer-causing free radicals. 

Often used in Italian soups and salads, farro has been cultivated in Italy for centuries and has an nutty and earthy flavour. The semi-pearled variety, which has some bran removed, is far simpler to cook. Discover the pleasure of farro with this honest and hearty warm salad which draws on another of Italian cuisine’s key staples, slow-roasted tomatoes.

Farro (wheat grain) with Slow-Roasted Italian Cherry Tomatoes and Rocket Pesto

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 2 hours Serves 4

300g farro (semi-pearled)

400g Italian cherry tomatoes, halved (Datterini or other variety)

50g sundried tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the rocket almond pesto

100g wild rocket

30g whole almonds

25g Parmesan cheese

60ml extra virgin olive oil

½ small garlic clove, peeled and cored

Fine grain sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

To garnish

Handful of rocket

50g whole almonds, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F/gas mark 1/2. Line a baking sheet with parchment; arrange the tomatoes on top, cut side up. Season with a small pinch of salt and a little pepper and throw in the crushed garlic too. Slow-bake for 90 minutes, or until the tomatoes look wrinkly but still have a bit of juice inside them.

2. Meanwhile, make the pesto by blitzing together all the ingredients until you have a smooth, bright green pesto (add more oil if needed, to help it come together). Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Soak the sundried tomatoes in warm water and leave to soften for half an hour. Drain and cut into strips. Set aside.

4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven when ready, discard the garlic and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the rock salt, leave to dissolve, then add the farro and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender but still holding its shape. Drain the farro, then toss with the pesto and the sundried tomatoes. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a large platter and garnish with rocket leaves. Scatter the roasted cherry tomatoes and roughly-chopped almonds on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe developed by Valeria Necchio for Kuoni. See more Italian tomato recipes at kuoni.co.uk/italy/food-and-wine/tomato-recipe-ideas