Farro is a great grain, loaded with fiber and nutrients. Here at Al Dente HQ, we are big fans of emmer — a type of farro which can be grown in fields outside of the Mediterranean and Middle East.
In the case of this pasta, the field is in Tompkins County.
Flour City Pasta in Rochester uses emmer at Oechsner Farms in Newfield, south of Ithaca. The crew at FCP mill the grain into flour and create a few different shapes. Jon, the owner of FCP, used to make fettuccine with emmer, but the owner told me that it is particularly brittle and tough to handle. Instead, they use emmer flour for radiatore and orzo. I did manage to find a package of fettuccine that I had squirreled away a while back. It still looked okay, so I went to work.
WHAT WORKED: The emmer noodles carry a nutty flavor. When cooked, it releases a lot of starch into the cooking water, which only helps to thicken the sauce later.
WHAT DIDN’T: Not much.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She approved. It’s a pretty simple dish overall, but packs a lot of flavor.
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: As long as FCP makes emmer pasta of some sort, I’ll keep buying it.
Emmer Fettuccine with beans
Adapted from Flour City Pasta
- 8 oz. emmer pasta
- 4 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium to large onion, chopped
- one portabella mushroom cap, stemmed and cubed
- olive oil
Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sweat, 5-6 minutes. Mix in tomatoes and beans, and cook 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a stockpot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook eight minutes. Before you pull the pasta, add one or two ladlefuls of pasta water to the beans. Drain the pasta, top with the beans and tomatoes, and serve hot.