Pea and Asparagus Salad



3 tbsp olive oil

½ yellow onion, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 ½ cups farro, rinsed

½ cup dry white wine

4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

¼ tsp salt, plus more, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 bunch asparagus, about 1 lb.

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 leeks, white and light green portions, rinsed well and cut into matchsticks

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen English peas

Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3-oz. piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. In a large pan over medium heat, warm 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the onion and celery sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the farro and stir to coat with the oil. Cook, stirring, until the farro is lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. 

  2. Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker. Stir in the remaining 3 cups stock, the 1/4 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Cover and cook on low until the farro is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  3. Meanwhile, trim the tough stem ends from the asparagus and cut the spears into 2-inch lengths. Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus pieces, reserving the tips, and cook for 4 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and cook until all the pieces are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more. Drain the asparagus and rinse under cold running water until cool. Spread the pieces out on a kitchen towel to dry.

  4. About 5 minutes before the farro is ready, in a large, heavy fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté for 1 minute. Add the peas and sauté for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and sauté until all the vegetables are just tender and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.

  5. Stir the vegetables into the farro and transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Garnish with the lemon zest and parsley. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the cheese over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.