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A Salad of Substance

Pasta, rice, farro and fregola are four popular staples in Italian regional cooking. We mostly see them presented as cold weather foods being served steaming hot usually with other wintery ingredients. But Italians use them all year round to add flavour, texture and nutritional value to cold dishes too. Here are four delicious salads that show how versatile these ingredients can be. They are ideal for summer entertaining and picnics, as you can prepare them well in advance and keep them chilled until you are ready to serve them.


Farfalloni Salad with Cannellini Beans and Rocket

Serves 6 



  • 500 g Rustichella d’Abruzzo Farfalloni (boiled  in salted water until al dente, about 12-15 minutes)

  • 250 g cooked cannellini beans (100g dried)

  • 1 kg rocket, washed and spun dry

  • 170 g (1 jar) Venturino pitted Taggiasche olives

  • 1 shallot, chopped

  • 3-4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 lemon, zest and juice

  • 2 Tbs Calogiuri Lemon Vincotto

  • Iblea Sicilian sea salt flakes, to taste

  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Thoroughly drain the cooked pasta.

2. In a large bowl, layer the pasta, cannellini beans, rocket and olives.

3. Zest the lemon over the bowl before juicing it into a separate container. Whisk together the shallot, olive oil, vincotto, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.

4. Add the dressing to the bowl with the salad and add another sprinkling of salt and pepper. Toss the salad to coat with the dressing, taking care not to smash the beans.


Farro Salad with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4-6



  • 400 g Rustichella d’Abruzzo pearled farro

  • 1 zucchini, sliced into rounds

  • 2 red or yellow capsicum, diced into chunks

  • 1 red onion, diced into chunks

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1 Tbsp Maletti balsamic vinegar

  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley

  • 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon

  • 1 Tbsp Rigoni Acacia honey


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread vegetables evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Using your hands toss the vegetables gently until they are all evenly coated. Bake for 35-40 minutes until roasted and fragrant.

2. Meantime, bring 900mL water to the boil in a large saucepan.  Add the farro, bring to a simmer, and cover. Cook until farro is tender - about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain farro well and put into a medium bowl.

3. In a separate bowl combine the lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, tarragon and honey in a bowl or jar and whisk lightly to combine.

4. Mix the farro, roasted vegetables and vinaigrette well. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Carnaroli Rice Salad with Artichokes, Tuna, Witlof & Corn

Serves 4-6




  • 500g Ferron Carnaroli rice

  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock

  • 2 heads of witlof (Belgian endive), sliced crosswise

  • 1 jar Puma Conserve quartered artichokes, drained and sliced

  • 1 jar Venturino pitted Taggiasche olives, drained and left whole

  • 1 jar Tre Torri Tonno a Pezzetti (tuna in pieces in extra virgin olive oil), drained

  • 5 Tbs Virgona capers di Salina washed & soaked

  • 150 g corn (tinned, fresh or frozen)

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Shaved Grana Padano

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Borometti Sicilian sea salt, to taste


1. Cook the rice Pilaf method as follows:

Preheat oven at 200 °C. Heat 20 ml of extra-virgin olive oil in a casserole pan, then add and toast the rice on a medium heat for 2 minutes, stir delicately.  Pour in the hot stock all at once, cover, and then put the casserole pan in the oven. After 13 minutes, remove the casserole pan from the oven; spread the rice out on a steel tray to cool.


2. Condiment Preparation

Put the cold rice in a large bowl and add the witlof, artichokes, olives, tuna, capers, and corn. Stir gently to combine, and add a pinch or two of salt to taste. Squeeze lemon juice over the salad and add the shaved Grana Padano.

Serve cold or at room temperature.



Fregolone with capers, anchovies, lemon & shaved pecorino

 Serves 4



  • 500g Fregolone Sarda

  • 5 Tbs Virgona capers di Salina

  • 5 Scalia anchovy fillets, roughly chopped or rolled into rosettes for presentation

  • 500g rocket

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • Pecorino Muntanaro (Sardinian pecorino cheese)

  • Caroli extra virgin olive oil


1. Bring 2 litres of water to the boil. Add a handful of salt to the boiling water then add the fregolone to the pot. Allow to cook until al-dente, about 15 minutes.  

2. Drain the fregolone, place into a large bowl, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Allow the fregolone to cool to room temperature.

3. Add the capers, anchovies and rocket to the fregolone. Squeeze lemon juice over the bowl, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil (if needed) and toss to combine. Serve with shaved pecorino and sliced lemon.









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