Farro is a grain similar to pearl barley, but it’s dried in such a way that instead of being fluffy and spongy it becomes chewy and nutty. You may have difficulty getting hold of it, but if you can find it you’ll be using it all the time – it has an unusual flavour half-way between rice and couscous (this recipe will also work well with both of these). In Italy it was a major food for the ancient Romans, who used it to make bread, porridge and soup before they got hold of wheat. Nowadays it’s used in salads, soups, stews, even pastas. You should be able to buy farro in good Italian delis, and supermarkets have started to stock it in the special selection aisles. Here’s a recipe for one of my fave salads – give it a go.