This sausage and farro parmesan is a hearty and delicious dinner, with farro cooked in a flavourful tomato sauce and topped with cheese and bread crumbs.
If you’ve been looking for a main dish farro recipe, this sausage and farro parmesan is pretty much perfect! It does need a little time to simmer away (about 2 hours), but you are home to enjoy the wonderful smells as it cooks away. And when dinner rolls around, it’s just a simple pop under the broiler to melt the cheese.
You can cook this one mostly in a slow cooker and let it do the simmering for you, or just let it simmer on the stovetop or pop into the oven. This one is also perfect hearty comfort food.
What is farro?
Farro is a nutty and pleasingly chewy grain. Farro is high in fibre, so it not only tastes great, it’s good for you too. Farro is a wheat, so it is not gluten free.
Farro comes in several forms. For cooking, look for pearled (perlato) or semi-pearled (semi-perlato) farro, which has some or all of the outer layers removed. Pearled farro takes the least time to cook, while semi-pearled needs a bit longer in the pot. Semi-pearled is a nice compromise choice for a balance between nutritious and delicious.
Another on of my favourite ways to enjoy farro is to add it to dinner salads (like this Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables) for a little added heartiness. Simply cook the farro ahead and serve at room temperature together with grilled summer vegetables and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Farro – semi-pearled farro is specified for this recipe.
Italian Sausage – you can use sweet or hot Italian sausage, or a mixture of the two.
Canned Crushed Tomatoes – any canned crushed tomatoes will work just fine here. If you have fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, they will add an extra bit of flavour.
While this dish has meat in it and is great as a main dish, it also works well as a side, as it is more grain than meat. It would be lovely as a side for simple grilled meat or fish. As a main, serve with a lovely salad for a great meal.
If you don’t have or want to use a slow cooker, start the recipe with a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven instead of a skillet, then simply cover your pot and simmer on the stove-top or pop into a 350F oven to cook away. Check every 30 minutes or so, to stir and check for doneness.
You can substitute regular dried breadcrumbs for the panko, if you prefer.
Get the Recipe: Sausage and Farro Parmesan
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb hot or sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano,
or 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon
crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 28 oz.
canned crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted recommended
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup panko
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 6 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
- In a large skillet (with a lid) or a Dutch Oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with a bit of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up, until cooked through and starting to brown, 7-8 minutes. Add the 2 cloves of minced garlic, the oregano, crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar. (If using slow cooker method, spoon this mixture into the slow cooker then proceed with the instructions).
- Add the farro, crushed tomatoes and water. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer on the stove-top, checking and stirring every 30 minutes, until the farro is tender, about 2 hours.(For slow cooker, cover and cook on high until the farro is tender, about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Stir in the green onions.)
- Alternately, you can pop the skillet or dutch oven into a 350F oven, checking every 30 minutes or so to stir and check farro for doneness.
- For the topping: heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, lemon zest, fresh oregano and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is tender, 1 minute. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a plate to cool and set aside.
- When farro mixture is cooked, spoon into an oven-safe baking dish (or smaller, individual baking dishes). Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and top with mozzarella slices. Place under your oven broiler until the cheese is melted and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Let stand a few minutes, then sprinkle with panko to serve.
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!