One-pan farro alla puttanesca

Hello and happy Thanksgiving to all my lovely Canadians out there! In celebration, we bought an apple pie from the grocery store and tried to heat it up in our somewhat broken oven… Resulting in the most tragic, pasty mess of an apple pie I ever did eat. I didn’t even finish it! You know it’s bad when even I can’t get past a dessert’s flaws, considering the fact that I’ve eaten garlic-scented, 1 euro chocolate on more than one occasion in my life.

But although my Thanksgiving apple pie tale was a tragic one, the bright side is that following the incident we are finally getting our acts together and having someone come in to fix the oven this week. I swear once it’s fixed I’m going to sustain myself solely on sheet-pan, oven-baked meals for at least a week. And on pizza. And burnt eggplant everything. And roasted mushrooms all day, every day. (I may or may not be writing this before breakfast…)

one-pan farro alla puttanesca, vegetarian recipe

Anywho! This post isn’t about the oven at all, but rather about this beautiful one-pan farro alla puttanesca (ish). Have you tried farro? It’s an Italian grain that’s become quite popular in recent years and that just has such great bite – like barley but heartier. You can get a quick-cooking variety and then all you need to do is boil it for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the texture you want. Or, you can chuck it into a pan with all of the other ingredients you want, cover it with your cooking liquid of choice, and simply let it simmer away until it’s absorbed all of the moisture. Sort of like a risotto preparation, with the added bonus that it’ll cook up just fine without you needing to stir it constantly.

That’s what this one-pan dish takes advantage of. You start by sautéing some onion and garlic, then toast your farro for a minute or two…

one-pan farro alla puttanesca, vegetarian recipe

(The origins of this pan are a mystery… I think we stole it from Pieter’s old student-ish house in The Hague when we first moved in together, and judging by its looks I can only guess it was a long-term inhabitant of that house! Oh, the things it must have seen… Definitely tremendous amounts of ‘spinach à la crème’ with teeny tiny chopped up EuroShopper bacon – a Dutch student classic. But in any case, it gets the job done and that’s what I’m after on most days of the week. So I’ll go ahead and call it my shabby chic aesthetic. Totally intentional.)

Throw in all of your liquid and let it simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed…

one-pan farro alla puttanesca, vegetarian recipe

Then toss in your olives and basil, cook another 5-7 minutes, and you’re done!

one-pan farro alla puttanesca, vegetarian recipe

one-pan farro alla puttanesca, vegetarian recipe

Don’t let the simplicity – or cheapness – of this dish fool you. It’s hearty and warming and almost meaty in texture, and packs a great flavour punch. And it also re-heats very well the next day!

If you like recipes that require minimal dishes, also check out my almost one-pot tomato & eggplant pasta, my chunky oven-baked tomato sauce over broiled polenta, and my roasted mushroom barley risotto!

one-pan farro alla puttanesca, vegetarian recipe

One-pan farro alla puttanesca

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 portions

One-pan farro alla puttanesca

This one-pan farro alla puttanesca is quick, easy and cheap but also healthy and big on flavour and comfort.


2 cups (300 g) dry quick-cooking farro*
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
400 g (1 can/roughly 1.75 cups) canned diced tomato
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup pitted & halved black olives (I use Kalamata - which may or may not be blasphemous, I'm not sure)
1/2 cup (couple handfuls) roughly chopped fresh basil + extra for serving
salt to taste
pinch of chili flakes, optional
pecorino romano (or other parmesan-ish cheese), for serving


1. In a deep pan (or sauce pan, whatever you have that can contain 1.5 litres of liquid), sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat until soft and translucent - about 5 minutes.
2. Add in the farro and stir, allowing the farro to toast for 1-2 minutes. (You won't notice any difference in colour, but I once read that this makes a big difference and I've never questioned it!)
3. Add in the canned tomatoes, the broth, and the chili flakes, if using. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook away, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated - about 20 - 25 minutes, depending on your pan and your stove.
4. Throw in the olives and basil. Simmer another 5-7 minutes until the farro has completely absorbed the liquid.
5. Remove from heat and serve with lots of grated pecorino and some fresh basil. Enjoy!


*For all I know this would also work with regular farro, but as I haven't tried it I can't make any promises!




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