It's easy to fall in love with the chewy, nutty flavor of this wholesome wheat grain, but you may be hesitant to cook it at home due to its reputation for being tricky to prepare. This couldn't be further from the truth. The hardest part may be knowing which type of farro you’ve got – it comes in whole grain, semi-pearled (some of the bran is removed) and pearled (all of the bran is removed) – and this is not indicated on all packages. All types have slightly different cooking times and absorb different amounts of liquid, so the best route to perfectly cooked farro is to boil it like pasta and dress and season it after it's out of the pot. Toasting the farro in a skillet before boiling enhances its nutty flavor even more.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil with the bay leaves. Meanwhile, spread the farro in a medium skillet and set over medium heat. Cook the farro, stirring with a wooden spoon, until lightly toasted, about 6 minutes. (The farro will darken a shade and smell nutty and fragrant.)
Add the farro to the boiling water and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the grains are cooked through but still somewhat chewy, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the type of farro. Drain well and discard the bay leaves.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil or butter and toss to combine. If you are making the farro ahead, spread while hot on a baking sheet lined with parchment to stop the cooking as it cools. Once cool, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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