Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Farro Salad with Zuchinni Pesto and Avocado

I have a problem with cooking from cookbooks. Sure they are nice for inspiration and pretty pictures but actually following a ingredients list and recipe I find limiting and tenuous. So when I was stuck one night for dinner Shane found a recipe in a not-so-favorite cookbook of mine that called for cooked brown rice and a broccoli pesto. Easy enough. And I happened to have the ingredients on hand, with the exception of brown rice so I used farro. However I can't stand the way this cookbook is organized and the list of ingredients could definitely be improved upon. I won't name the cookbook but for those of you who know me well its by that blogger who uses lemon zest in almost everything.

You could use any grain with this summery salad dish, I am sure pasta would of course be delicious too! In fact last night I made it with a mixture of farro and millet I had in the fridge. Served warm or cold this dish would make a great summer BBQ or picnic contribution or eaten for lunch during the week. Make extra pesto and use it as a spread or freeze.

Farro Salad with Zuchinni Pesto and Avocado 
Serves about 4

1 1/2 cups cooked farro (or any grain you have around)
Cook the farro according to the package directions, this usually involves soaking the farro for 25 minutes.

While the farro is cooking chop up 6 cups of zucchini or broccoli or a bit of both and steam until just tender and bright green. When done transfer to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

For the Pesto:
2 cups of fresh basil
2/3 cups toasted walnuts
1/4 Parmesan-Reggiano
1/4 Creme Fraiche
1/4 Olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
2 cups of the cooled and steamed zucchini and or broccoli

Put all the above ingredients into your food processor, blender or vita mix and process. Adding the olive oil and lemon juice while the machine is running.

When your farro is done cooking transfer to a serving bowl and add the rest of your steamed zucchini/broccoli and the pesto. Add  in one whole avocado chopped into chunks. Gently mix together, slat and pepper to taste. Serve warm or refrigerate until cool.