Emmer is a type of farro (an ancient hulled wheat) that dates back to early civilization. Ethnographic evidence from Turkey and other emmer-growing areas suggests that emmer makes good bread (judged by the taste and texture standards of traditional bread), and this is supported by evidence of its widespread consumption as bread in ancient Egypt. Emmer bread is available in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
In Italy, whole emmer grains can be easily found in most supermarkets and groceries, emmer bread (pane di farro) can be found in bakeries in some areas, and emmer has traditionally been consumed in Tuscany as whole grain in soup. Higher in fiber than common wheat, emmer’s use for making pasta is a recent response to the health food market; some consumers, however, judge that emmer pasta has an unattractive texture. Emmer has also been used in beer production.
As with all varieties and hybrids of wheat, emmer is unsuitable for people with gluten-related disorders, such as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy sufferers, among others.
Rich in fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamins, Emmer also becomes a complete protein source when combined with legumes, making Emmer grains and pastas ideal for vegetarians, or for anyone simply looking for a plant-based high-protein food source. It is prepared like brown rice and cooks in 50-60 minutes (or can be soaked overnight to reduce the cooking time). It makes a fabulous pilaf, grain salad, risotto, addition to soup, or sprouted for breads and salads. When cooked, its dark, plump berries add sweet,full-bodied flavor,chewy texture, and high nutritional value (over 16% protein) to every meal. Emmer is a lovely, versatile grain and can be used in sweet or savory dishes.
Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Red Onions, and Brie
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups farro
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- ¾ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp minced fresh sage
- 1¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 10 oz brie, cut into ½-inch dice
1. Heat oven to 450F.
2. In a large pot, bring the water and farro to a boil. Add in a pinch of salt and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 25 minutes, or until farro is tender. Drain any excess water and put farro in a large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together the olive oil, butternut squash, red onion, and carrots. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
4. When the vegetables are cooked, toss them with the farro, parsley, sage, and brie. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.