Farro with Grilled Zucchini, Ricotta Salata, and Basil is a perfect summer dish. It has few ingredients, easy prep, and can be served at room temperature. I mean, who wants to eat hot food when it’s this hot outside? And, most of the work for this dish is done on the grill, keeping most of the heat outside. If you have a side burner you could even cook the farro on the grill.
I’ve been making this dish for years, and when I determined that I wanted to share it with you, I couldn’t find my notes/recipe. I kept digging through lots of old piles of recipes. And, yes, sadly, I have more recipe papers than I’d ever be able to cook. Piles and piles of them. But, to my happiness, I finally found it!!! So, I’m sharing it with you now, with a little update.
I used to be able to find ricotta salata very easily at the store. But, I had difficulty finding some to use for this recipe today. I ended up buying a grated version. I would totally recommend buying the whole cheese and simply crumbling it for this dish. Mmmm, big chunks of salted cheese in this are delicious! But, if I did have a crumbled version, I can tell you I’d definitely use more than 2 tablespoons worth, so maybe the grated stuff saved me some calories. Either way, this dish was still super delicious.
In case you aren’t familiar with it, ricotta salata is a hard Italian cheese with a mildly salty nutty flavor. Cheese.com says, “The word ‘Ricotta’ means re-cooked and ‘Salata’ means salted. Ricotta Salata is an Italian cheese made from the whey part of sheep milk, which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It is milky white in colour with firm texture and salty taste. “ Often it’s labeled as Mizithra or Myzithra cheese. If you can’t find Ricotta Salata or Mizithra, try using Pecorino-Romano cheese. Any of these cheeses are great on all kinds of pasta dishes or salads.
Farro is a nutty whole wheat grain similar to barley. I love the quick cook farro. I find it at Trader Joe’s, and it only takes 10 minutes to cook. If you can’t find quick cooking farro, the regular stuff takes approximately 20 minutes to cook, but be sure to check the directions on the package.
- ½ large sweet yellow onion peeled and trimmed
- 2 large zucchini trimmed, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup uncooked farro
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil cut into chiffonade
- 2 tablespoons grated ricotta salata or Myzithra
- Place onion half in a small microwavable bowl with a small amount of water, about 2 tablespoons. Cover the bowl with a plate set upside down over the bowl, and microwave 2-3 minutes until the onion is softened.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat, or if cooking on the stove top, preheat grill pan over high heat. Brush the cut side of the zucchini and both sides of the onion with oil. Grill veggies until tender-crisp and grill marks start to show, about 4 minutes per side for the zucchini, and 5 minutes per side for the onion. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut the veggies into ½-inch pieces. Place in large bowl, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Following the package directions, cook farro in boiling water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Add farro to zucchini mixture, lightly tossing to combine. Top farro and veggies with chopped basil and grated ricotta salata. Serve hot or at room temperature.