This farro and mint salad is a twist on a summer favourite of mine that I associate with picnics on the Lido and its long stretch of beach. I’ve included ricotta salata, which is firmer and saltier than plain ricotta, but you could make it with a slightly punchier feta, or mozzarella – or leave out the cheese altogether. If you can’t get your hands on fresh baby artichokes, then feel free to use canned ones; likewise, frozen broad beans rather than fresh will be fine.
200g pearled farro
8-10 baby artichokes (canned or bottled are fine, see recipe method)
grated zest of ½ lemon and juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp olive oil
120ml white wine
450g shelled broad beans, fresh or frozen
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of mint, leaves picked or chopped, if preferred
120g ricotta salata
1. Put the farro in a large saucepan, cover with a few centimetres of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the farro is al dente, then drain. Transfer it to a large bowl.
2. If using fresh baby artichokes, tear off the tough outer leaves and trim the spiky tops, adding the artichokes to a bowl of cold water acidulated with half the lemon juice as you go, to stop them browning. Cut them into quarters. Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the artichoke quarters and turn to coat them in the oil. Pour in the wine, reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the artichokes are tender. Add the broad beans and cook for 5-7 minutes, until tender. (If you are using canned artichokes, just simmer the wine in the pan for a minute to reduce it slightly, then add the broad beans and simmer for 3 minutes until almost tender; add the drained and quartered artichokes along with the olive oil and cook for a minute to heat through.) Season with salt and pepper to taste, then squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the vegetables and add the lemon zest.
3. Add the artichokes and broad beans to the farro. Dress the salad with the last of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the mint, then roughly chop or crumble the ricotta and scatter it over the salad.
SAVE 25% ON SKYE’S NEW BOOK
A Table in Venice by Skye McAlpine is published by Bloomsbury, price £26. To order a copy for £19.50 until 8 July visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.