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Author Notes: Adapted from a favorite Ottolenghi recipe for Swiss Chard with Buttered Pine nuts, this take both simplifies and complicates things: grains have been added to make it more of a meal, but the greens are kept raw (as opposed to sautéed as in the original recipe). The tahini sauce has been simplified a bit, too, by removing the yogurt.
Farro: I've been using the 10-minute farro from Trader Joe's — it has a nice, chewy texture. It does seem to take more like 15 minutes to cook, which is fine. When choosing, look at the label — it might say pearled or semi-pearled, but just look at the suggested cooking time. Ideally look for one that cooks in 25 minutes or less.
If you don't like the zing of raw garlic, omit it, or boil it for one minute before mincing it. —Alexandra Stafford
Serves 3 to 4
- 1.5 cups par-cooked farro, see notes above
- kosher salt to taste
- 3 to 5 ounces greens, such as kale, Swiss chard, arugula
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 lemon, halved, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, minced, optional, see notes above
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- Place a large pot of water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add the farro and a big pinch of salt (I add 1 tablespoon). Cook according to package instruction but taste before draining — my 10-minute Trader Joe’s farro consistently takes 15 minutes. Drain. Place in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, remove the greens from the stems (if using kale or chard), then slice very finely — you can chiffonade the leaves (stack leaves on top of each other, roll them into a tight coil, then cut down to make long thin strips) but consider cutting the thin strips into smaller pieces as well. You want small pieces of greens here. Place the greens in the bowl with the farro, add ¼ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and fresh-cracked pepper to taste. Squeeze half of the lemon into the bowl catching the seeds with your hand. Toss, taste, and adjust with more salt or pepper to taste—I usually add another quarter teaspoon of salt and sometimes more. The farro and greens should taste slightly lemony and nicely seasoned, but nothing spectacular—remember that the magic happens when the grains and greens meet the tahini sauce. At this point, you can chill the farro and greens until you are ready to serve.
- Make the tahini sauce: Stir together the tahini, remaining ¼ cup olive oil, juice of remaining half lemon, ¼ teaspoon salt, maple syrup, garlic, if using, and 2 tablespoons water. Add more water by the tablespoon. Dressing should be pourable—I typically add another 2 tablespoons water. Taste and adjust with more salt, lemon, or maple syrup to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl or set directly on the table.
- In a medium skillet over medium (or higher) heat, stir the pine nuts until golden all around. Do not walk away from the skillet—if you stand there the entire time, you can get away with using higher heat for a shorter period of time.
- When ready to serve, spoon the greens and grains into bowls, drizzle the tahini sauce over top, and sprinkle pine nuts over top as well. Pass more sauce and pine nuts on the side.