The Recipes

Spicy Green Farro with Asparagus

I was craving something a little hearty tonight, but I'm trying to stay away from things like pasta and bad-for-you carbs and starches (apologize to the bakers for me, Mikey).  Using very nutritious grains like farro is a great swap.  They're hearty, toothsome, and as easy as pasta to prepare.  If you don't have farro, any other grain will do - wheat berries, cous cous, quinoa, or even a sturdy variety of lentil.

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Ingredients:

- 1/4 c. farro

- 2 T. pesto

- 6 asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-in. pieces

- 1 chile pepper, sliced (a jalapeno or serrano will be spicier; I used a sweeter red chile)

- olive oil

- salt

- pepper

- 4 chives, chopped

- 1/4 lemon

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water and add the farro and cook for 35-40 minutes.

Bring another small pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water and add the asparagus.  Cook for two minutes, then transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water or "ice bath."

Heat olive oil - about three turns of the pan - on the stove.  Add the chili pepper, season with salt, and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the drained asparagus and cook another 3-4 minutes to get a nice color on the asparagus.  Season with pepper.

Drain the farro, reserving a little bit of the cooking water.  Stir the pesto into the farro, adding a little bit of cooking water the help it adhere to the grain.  Plate the farro and top with the asparagus and chilis.  Squeeze the lemon over the top and garnish with the chives.