Farro, White Bean, and Broccoli Rabe Gratin

SFS_Farro and Broccoli Rabe Gratin_029

STORE 8 to 24 HOURS 

Why This Recipe Works: For this recipe, we set out to create a new kind of casserole, one that was hearty, healthy, and vegetarian with nutty, satisfying whole grains. We looked to Italian flavors, utilizing nutty farro, creamy white beans, slightly bitter broccoli rabe, and salty Parmesan—the hearty ingredients and bold flavors made this dish a natural make-ahead meal. Toasting the farro in the aromatics and oil gave it extra nuttiness and jump-started the cooking process, helping it to bake through more evenly. We liked small white beans in this dish as they blended in with the farro, lending creaminess and added protein, making this a hearty meal. We found that blanching the broccoli rabe in salted water tamed its bitterness. We tried adding it with all the other ingredients as the gratin went into the oven but found it emerged dull and overcooked. Adding it to the casserole during the last 10 minutes kept it bright green and perfectly tender. Sun-dried tomatoes gave us the extra pop of flavor we were after in this dish.

1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups farro
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, rinsed
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Fill large bowl halfway with ice and water. Add broccoli rabe and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook until wilted and just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain broccoli rabe, then transfer to ice water and let cool. Drain broccoli rabe well and transfer to paper towel–lined storage container.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add farro and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

3. Transfer farro mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish, stir in broth, water, and beans, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.


4. Wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap and ­refrigerate farro mixture and broccoli rabe separately for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.


5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap dish, cover tightly with greased aluminum foil, and bake casserole until farro is just tender and liquid is almost completely absorbed, 60 to 75 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Stir in broccoli rabe and tomatoes, then sprinkle with Parmesan and bake, uncovered, until farro is completely tender and remaining liquid is thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle with oil and serve.

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