I found this extremely tasty, simple, and inexpensive dish while trying to find something to do with some a bunch of pearl barley I had. I highly encourage it now that the weather is cooling down. The recipe has been translated from an old Italian recipe, so please forgive the somewhat unusual measurements. And, as it always the case with such recipes, don't worry about being too exact.


4 fistfuls of farro (pearled or plain barley)
1 medium white onion - the recipe says a "bello" onion, so make sure it's a quality one ;-)
1 stick of celery
2 medium sized potatoes cut into large chunks (4 to 6 pieces per potato)
1/2 cup of canned/fresh chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce
2 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
100 ml white wine
1 liter boiling water
hot pepper flakes or fruits to taste
  • Finely mince the onion and celery, then saute it in a pot with the oil at medium heat until golden brown (4-6 minutes).
  • Add the wine and let evaporate, stirring every so often (2-3 minutes total time, in my experience)
  • Add tomatoes and stir.
  • After a few minutes, add 1 L boiling water, the well washed farro, the potatoes, and a small handful of salt (1 tsp or so).
  • Bring to a boil, raising heat, if necessary (which shouldn't take too long, as the water was already boiling).
  • Lower heat to simmer, cover, and stir often for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Add hot pepper, to your taste.
It sounds easy, by the result is truly divine, especially if you cook it really, really slowly at the end and let the potatoes get all nice and soft :)

Buon appetito.
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