Farro ancient grains
Farro is featured alongside ribboned zucchini and lupini beans in the Live Med Salad at Zoës Kitchen.

Mighty farro

“Farro is starting to get on more plates thanks to the popularity of Italian food,” said Ms. Asbell. “Farro is easy to make ahead of time, making it perfect for food service. Unlike noodles, farro can sit in hot soup for hours, or bake in a casserole with no loss of character.”

Farro, which also goes by such names as einkorn, emmer and spelt, varying by country of origin, is part of the wheat family. Because of the grain’s low-gluten content, it is often favored by those who cannot tolerate wheat. However, because of the low-gluten content, the grain is not typically used in bread production. It contains about 40% more protein and 15% less starch than commercial wheat, and is abundant in B vitamins and trace minerals, including iron. It has a nut-like flavor with a hint of sweetness, making it very versatile.

“Farro is a great introductory ancient grain because of its mild flavor profile,” Ms. Speck said. “It’s an easy add-in to soup. It adds flavor, texture and nutrition.”

Chef Fiorelli concurred. “Farro is great. You can cook it or mill it,” he said. “I love the idea that I can eat something whole or turn it into a flour to make a super-satisfying dessert, pasta or flatbread.”

He is currently featuring ancient grains in several dishes, including the Freekehlicious Salad. It is made with five grains (freekeh, red quinoa, farro, fregola and black rice), five herbs (rosemary, sage, parsley, mint and basil), shaved radish, black currants and toasted hazelnuts. There’s also Rabbit Porchetta, which is served atop a bed of black rice and farro.

Within the past year, Blount Fine Foods, Fall River, Mass., introduced an ancient grain minestrone refrigerated soup for retail. The organic vegan soup features vegetables along with barley, farro and quinoa.