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When in Italy eat pasta. When in Napoli eat pizza. Any other Mediterranean dish is fine too but pizza, or better Neapolitan Pizza, is something special and – allow me to say – unique to this city. Astonishingly tasty, cheap and hard to replicate at home.

I’m not sure why. The secret of Neapolitan pizza is well kept. Here is my guess: the soil enriched by the volcanic ejecta (Yep, we have volcano overlooking us!) and the gentle sun that warms the fertile land even during the coldest months of the year, make the difference.

farro

OK, I’m going off on a tangent. Here pictured there’s an unorthodox pasta dish, not a pizza. Not that I’ve already got enough of the carbs overload the yummy Italian cuisine comes with. Nor that I have intention to give in the plan I made with my boyfriend to enjoy a pizza every second day. Let’s just say I’m old enough to realize a quick break from refined white flours is necessary.

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When I accidentally laid my eyes on this Farro* pasta I knew I had to grab the package, despite the price, significantly higher here in Italy than in the US. I knew I had to prepare this dish that I have just now baptized as “the unconventional high-fiber pasta”.

I did not know what to expect apart from a good amount of fiber (In doubt I added some little mozzarella balls aka bocconcini).

Surprise, Surprise, pasta made of nothing else than farro flour and water tastes exactly like whole wheat pasta. If there are differences in taste and texture between the two pastas, I was not able to notice them.

*Italian farro is Emmer wheat, a very “old” grain that was a staple of the daily diet in ancient Rome.

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My brief healthy break from pizza is already over. Farewell my lovely farro pasta, hello terrible carbs.

p.s. Do you also know a dish whose taste is peculiar to a city and different everywhere else? 

Farro Pasta Salad with Stir Fried Veggies and Bocconcini

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces uncooked short pasta I used Farro pasta, whole wheat works great too.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons small fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 ounces bocconcini halved

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet stir-fry the zucchini and peppers in the olive oil (except two tablespoons) for about 10 minutes. Add salt and stir.
  • Combine mozzarella bocconcini and tomatoes in large bowl. Slowly add the remaining oil and toss well.
  • When cooked, drain the pasta and add it to the vegetable mixture. Set aside a few minutes to cool down and absorbs the flavours then top with bocconcini, tomatoes and oregano.

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12 Comments

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  1. Well, not exactly a dish, but a tea. I come from a little region in Germany called Ostfriesland. In that area people drink more tea than the British. It’s a little funny because in the rest of Germany people drink mostly coffee. Anyway, I realized that the same tea brand tastes different if I brew it somewhere outside of Ostfriesland. I guess its the water 🙂

  2. I love pizza and pasta, I won’t give up on either one! When I was in Turin, I was surprised by a line of farro pasta, flour and bread and these are hard to find the US. Your farro pasta dish fondly reminds me of Italy; I miss it a lot and their gorgeous produce! I love the combination of zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes and herbs you used..stunning flavors!

  3. Hah, nonsense! You can still enjoy whole wheat pasta & pizza after returning from Italy! My guess for why the pizza in Napoli is significantly better & cannot be replicated at home is simple: it’s in the water! It’s the same reason NYC pizza vs. LA pizza just cannot be the same. LA’s tap water is just terrible compared to NYC’s! Also, the yeast created in Napoli is much different than elsewhere.

    Your pasta dish looks beautiful, simple, & elegant. Perfecto! I certainly wish I could get that much natural light in my apartment!

    As for your question: pretty much every single ethnic food. Vietnamese food is often recreated poorly in fusion restaurants or those that advertise being Vietnamese + some other Asian cuisine. Japanese food is often butchered (Americanized rolls, while I enjoy them, oh brother does this mean the rest of the more authentic meals are botched!) & of course, Italian food. Whenever I eat spaghetti from an Italian restaurant & it’s not al dente, I’m sorely disappointed. Or when I see carbonara on the menu & it’s made with cream…sigh, come on you guys, you should know better. It’s creamy because of the eggs & cheese, not because there’s milk in it!!

  4. Oh, I would love to visit Napoli and not question, I will eat there pizza. It is the origin of one of my favorite dishes. Thanks for the recipe, it looks so delicious, I will try it.