farro zucchini gratin

Zucchini are one of our favorite vegetables and we have been having happy outcomes from our recent zucchini/zucchini flower pasta combinations both at home and in Italy, while farro is one of our favorite Mediterranean grains, similar to the bulgur that we use so frequently in Middle Eastern dishes, and since we are under the impression that it is a more healthy processed grain, we feel good about finding creative uses for it. This summer we had some delicious zucchini tartlets in a rustic open air restaurant south of Rome, some kind of zucchini and white sauce merging in a tartlet pan with parmigiano melted on top, maybe some good melting cheese inside, let's face it, the description we got was a bit vague and then clouded by bob's weak memory. Nevertheless cheesy zucchini recipes were on our mind, so when we had a quiet moment, we started our internet search with "zucchini tartlet" but this did not lead to anything vaguely like what we were hoping to find, so we sort of freed up our search terms a bit and somehow found this farro zucchini marriage which is the first google hit under the search terms:  farro zucchini.

This recipe comes from a Canadian food blogger (Closet Cooking), in turn a slight variation of a recipe from another food blogger (Cooking with Michele, from Colorado), and one which we think is also a slight improvement on the original. As soon as we looked at the ingredient list we were convinced, but the dr bob cooking team was not yet ready to plunge ahead that night, a few other planned meals were already higher up on the waiting list. Then a few days later ani prepared the dish up to the bake stage while bob was playing professor, leaving it for him to load into the oven midway through her early evening fitness class so it would be ready by the time she returned. bob nearly bungled this task, but still got it baking in time for her to take a quick shower first before eating. The result was well worth the somewhat lengthy prep time and can be a great vegetarian main dish by itself as well as a side for some kind of cooked dead animal or fish product.


sauté starter
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
béchamel sauce
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 c milk
bulk filler stuff
2 c zucchini, grated
2 c cooked farro (or brown rice or other whole grain), optionally cooked in veggie broth
1/4 c parmigiano, grated
3/4 c gruyere, grated (more cheese makes this more comforting, as in comfort food)
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 c bread crumbs (panko is a good choice)
1/4 c parmigiano
little bits of butter, dotted over the surface


  1. This recipe involves 3 separate preps before combining and topping.
  2. Grate the two cheeses before hand.
  3. Cook the farro as directed by the particular variation you find, depending on whether it is pearled or not. "Not" means a  bit longer boiling time. Using veggie broth instead of just water adds flavor.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until softened, maybe 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic and continue another minute, being sure not to overdo the garlic. Then set aside.
  5. Melt the butter in another sauce pan and whisk in the flour, continuing until it turns a light golden brown, then whisk in the milk and simmer until it thickens.
  6. Combine the bulk filler stuff with the white sauce and onion flavor enhancer and mix well.
  7. Pour into an 8 in square baking pan or an 8x11 in rectangular baking pan and top with the bread crumbs mixed with the parmigiano.
  8. Dot with small bits of butter.
  9. Bake about 30 minutes in a preheated 350° F oven until golden brown and bubbling, and if the golden brown part doesn't happen, you can broil this a minute carefully watching that it does not burn.


  1. Farro Zucchini Gratin, by Closet Cooking Kevin, from Farro and Summer Squash Gratin by Michele of Cooking with Michele. Of course zucchini are a particular summer squash. One zucchini would be a zucchino in Italian, but that doesn't work in English, where it is both plural and singular at the same time.
  2. Giada has her own cheesy baked farro recipe (p.91 in Giada at Home, we have a copy in our cooking library signed by Giada!) which is similar but different enough that we should keep it in mind next time. It uses portobello mushrooms instead of zucchini (not the Food Network version). Here are some food blog photos, yum.
  3. Illustrations available.
farrozucchinigratin.htm: 2-oct-2011 [what, ME cook? ? 1984 dr bob enterprises]