farro with pesto, artichokes and tomatoes

In recent years bob has been pretty successful in keeping a chokehold on his food magazine impulse buy habit, but this time checking out the Costco cheaper magazine rack, America's Test Kitchen came on strong with a "buy me!" title "Superfood Recipes" backed up by rich interesting content that a quick browse revealed, so it went into the cart. At home palatable ideas were not materializing for a dinner menu, so bob quickly looked for something in the magazine compatible with our items on hand. Farro came immediately to mind since we don't turn to it often enough, and yes, there was a can of artichoke hearts waiting for us, and little tomatoes are a normal food item in our cuisine, and an open jar of  Costco pesto was waiting in the fridge, although we had to scoop away some mold, keeping our fingers crossed.

This is pretty simple stuff. It just requires cooking the farro a bit longer than pasta, prepping the little tomatoes, quartering the artichoke hearts. Details. But sitting down to taste the result, just amazingly flavorful. And supposedly healthy right, the title says "superfood." We admit to taking a shortcut using the store bought pesto, but that makes it easier to do, quicker too. Less chance of not having the right ingredients on hand. Which we didn't---no fresh basil. And oh yeah, our farro was not whole, which takes longer to cook. We did have 2 lbs of spinach from Costco that we cooked down for later use, and threw in a handful of cooked spinach as well.


ATK recipe     our modifications
1 1/2 c whole farro, rinsed   pearled farro
1 T salt    
2 c fresh basil leaves   [used pesto sauce]
1.5 oz = 1 1/2 c baby spinach [used pesto sauce]
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds, toasted   toasted pine nuts
1 oz = 1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated   [used pesto sauce]
2 garlic cloves, minced   [used pesto sauce]
1/2 c cold pressed extra virgin  olive oil   1/4 c?
1/3 c organic plain lowfat yogurt    
12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved   gourmet medley small tomatoes
2 c whole baby artichokes packed in water,
rinsed, patted dry and quartered
  salt and pepper, adjust to taste    

  1.  Cook the farro with 4 quarts of water and the salt until tender, slightly chewy (al dente). Read the package for the time 15 – 30 minutes. Then drain. If you want a cooled down salad, spread out over a rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 20 minutes. We skipped this step because it was delicious warm.
  2. Meanwhile if you do their recipe, pulse the basil, spinach, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, garlic, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper in a food processor until finely ground, 20 to 30 pulses, scraping down the sides as needed. With processor running, slowly add the oil until incorporated. Add yogurt and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses. Transfer to a bowl. If you are lazy like us, just mix 1/2 – 2/3 c prepared pesto with the yogurt and you are good to go. To the next step.
  3. Toss the farro with the pesto mixture until combined (but first incorporate the reduced olive oil here if you are using ready made pesto), then gently stir in the tomatoes and artichokes, and finally season with salt and pepper to taste. They say stir in warm water as needed, 1 T at a time to adjust consistency, but we blew through this step. Seemed unnecessary. Probably since we used already prepared pesto plus some olive oil.
  4. Serve.


  1. ATK seems reluctant to tell us this online, but other sources have leaked it.
  2. ATK special edition magazine page (Jan-Apr, 2019): SuperFood Recipes.
  3. bob had two big helpings. The dr bob seal of approval.
  4. We did something similar in the past: ferragosto farro pesto and crab salad, different addins.
  5. Illustrations available.
farropestoartichoketomatomix.htm: 11-jan-2019 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]