I am getting tons of gorgeous, colorful tomatoes from my garden, and while I love eating them as is, I've also been trying to find new ways to use them. They're great in salads and in pasta dishes, but I was searching for something a little different.
I remembered the farro risotto I made in the spring and thought a tomato version of it could be really tasty. As I started mapping out the recipe in my head, I realized that what I craved was a rich, cheesy rendition and soon farro risotto turned into a farro bake.
I decided to roast the tomatoes first (plus some garlic cloves for added flavor), which gave me plenty of time to cook the farro on the stove, as well as wilt a little spinach to mix in. Then I stirred my roasted tomatoes into the cooked farro and spinach mixture along with some mozzarella and Parmesan. I spread the mixture in a baking dish and popped it in the oven until the liquid in the dish was all absorbed and the farro took on a creamy texture to complement its nuttiness. For a final touch, I covered the farro bake with mozzarella and stuck the dish under the broiler until the cheese was browned and bubbly. The dish has summer appeal from the roasted tomatoes but also a bit of heartiness. It straddles the comfort food line, which makes it perfect for the cooler nights that are starting to sneak up on us.
Roasted Tomato Farro Bake
This baked dish of nutty, creamy farro features roasted tomatoes and garlic, heaps of baby spinach, and gooey mozzarella cheese.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
10 ounces assorted small tomatoes (Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, Red Pear, Sun Gold, etc.)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup farro, rinsed
5 ounces baby spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Fresh basil (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil in broiler-safe 9-inch square baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, shaking pan or stirring halfway through roasting. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Smash or break up garlic cloves (or discard them if you’re opposed to big garlic chunks).
Meanwhile, combine farro and 3 cups water in pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
Add spinach to pot with farro, cover, and simmer until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir together.
Stir tomato mixture into farro mixture. (Set baking dish aside – you’ll need it again.) Stir ½ cup mozzarella and Parmesan into farro-tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer farro-tomato mixture to baking dish, and bake for about 20 minutes, to finish cooking farro and thicken mixture, stirring halfway through baking.
Heat broiler, give farro mixture final stir, top with remaining ½ cup mozzarella, return dish to oven, and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes. (Timing will vary depending on your broiler, so keep an eye on it.)
Let sit for 10 minutes. Serve with extra Parmesan and balsamic and basil, if desired, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
What are your favorite tomato dishes?