This farro dish leans on a zingy riff on traditional pesto; it has garlic, fresh basil and olive oil, but then exits the worn path with fresh lemon zest and juice, raw asparagus, pecorino cheese, almonds, and a tiny kick of crushed red pepper. For body, it has little spears of blanched asparagus, chunks of avocado, feta, and almonds, then its crowned with a fried egg. —Pinch&Swirl
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe was worth the effort to run around getting all of the ingredients. While the pesto itself was only a little zippier than a traditional basil pesto, the addition of more asparagus and chunks of avocado and feta made it lovely in a comforting creamy pesto way. I personally wish I‘d saved more of the almonds for the topping in order to add crunch. Of course, I tested the farro after the pesto and asparagus were added, and I thought it was just fine without the egg; that is, until I assembled the whole dish with the egg and the flavors truly popped. Another creamy comfort food (the egg) added to a comforting healthy dish actually worked. Bravo! I will make this again, even without the egg. —Katherine's Kitchen
crushed red pepper
fresh basil leaves, packed
toasted almonds, chopped, divided
grated pecorino cheese
lemon, zest and juice
olive oil (plus more for farro and egg frying)
avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut in bite size chunks
To cook the farro, combine with 2 cups of water in a pot. Add a sprinkle of salt and a swirl of olive oil; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for at least 25 and up to 40 minutes, until grains are tender and have absorbed all of the water.
Meanwhile, set a medium pot of water on to boil (for the asparagus) and make the pesto. With a food processor or blender running, add the garlic, crushed red pepper, basil, all but a small handful of the almonds, pecorino cheese, and 1/2 cup raw asparagus pieces; process to a coarse paste. Add lemon zest and juice, and the olive oil; process until smooth. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
Add asparagus to medium pot of boiling water and blanch just until bright green and crisp tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.
In a large serving bowl combine farro, pesto, and asparagus; gently stir to combine. Divide between four serving plates. Divide avocado, feta, and remaining almonds among the four plates, sprinkling them over the top.
For the fried eggs, heat a cast iron or other nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or more of olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Crack the eggs one by one into the pan, try to give each one its own space. Let the eggs fry, undisturbed, until the whites are set and the outer edges are barely browning. (Flip if you prefer your yolks cooked through) Season eggs with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Crown each serving plate with a fried egg and serve immediately.