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Tuscan Recipes: Truffled Farro Salad

By: Steve Keenan Journalist | Specialist in rural tourism

Judy Witts Francini

Judy Witts Francini: Tuscany food guide, cook and author

Judy created Divina Cucina more than 30 years ago. It’s a Market-to-Table concept in Chianti and Sicily, which offers a week-long combination of three hands-on cooking days and tours of wineries, butchers, cheese makers and other artisans. The site also offers market tours in Florence and bespoke food tours in several regions of Italy.

Judy has lived in Italy since 1984, and is also an author, blogger and creator of the Taste Chianti app, which includes advice on eating out, from Michelin-starred restaurants to simple wine bars and truck stops. Here, she shares a recipe from her cookbook, Secrets from my Tuscan Kitchen.

Warm Truffled Farro Salad

Ages ago, on a trip to Umbria, we stayed in a hotel run by locals who restored the abandoned castle. We dined there one night. Chef Donatella Lauteri, the young wizard in the kitchen, shared this incredible recipe with me, for warm truffled farro (spelt) salad. She called it chicchi (little kernels).

Most recipes in Italy are passed on by word of mouth and measurements are not very specific. Use fresh herbs and tomatoes in tiny amounts, pinches, as they are only to accent, not overpower, the truffles. Truffle oil may be substituted for the black truffles.

Truffled Farro Salad

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces dried chickpeas
  • 10 ounces farro (spelt, or emmer), an antique grain, easy to find.
  • 3 ounces black truffles
  • Garlic, basil, sage, rosemary, oregano (add to taste)
  • Cherry tomatoes cut into halves or quarters
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chilli flakes
  • Parsley


Instructions

  1. Soak the chickpeas in cold water for 12 hours, changing the water three times. 
  2. Cook the chickpeas in the same water for an hour, adding more if needed while cooking.
  3. Cook the farro in lightly salted water until tender. I cook about 15 minutes.
  4. Do not overcook the chickpeas or farro!
  5. Finely chop the garlic, basil, sage, rosemary, chilli flakes, and oregano.
  6. Lightly sauté the herbs in olive oil, then add the tomato bits.
  7. Add the drained chickpeas and farro, drizzling with a bit of broth until cooked.
  8. Off the flame, stir in the truffles* and serve with slices of fettunta**.


*Outside of Italy, truffles are an expensive luxury item, but here, almost everyone knows a truffle hunter. I am blessed to live in Tuscany, where they have truffles all year long. Mostly the black truffles which are less expensive and, in winter, the white truffles.

**Fettunta is Tuscan garlic bread (bruschetta). A thick slice of Tuscan-style bread is toasted and then lightly rubbed with a clove of garlic. The best extra virgin olive oil is poured over the bread. Then it’s seasoned with a little salt.

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