Farro e Verdura

Spelt with Vegetables


Spelt is a species of wheat grain. It was an important staple food in various parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times, but has survived as part of the daily diet in various parts of Italy, including Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche. More recently, it has found a new market as a health food and as a substitute for common wheat for those with a gluten intolerance or allergy. Nutty and delicious, spelt is used in soups, salads or casseroles, or is ground to a flour for bread and pasta making. This recipe is from Le Marche.


  • 200 g/7 oz ready-to-cook spelt
  • 4 potatoes, quartered
  • 4 courgettes/zucchini, halved
  • 115 g/4 oz green beans
  • 200 g/7 oz fresh haricot/navy or cannellini beans
  • 275 g/10 oz cabbage leaves, shredded
  • 3 carrots (or similar quantity of other vegetables of your choice)
  • 115 g/4 oz thinly sliced pancetta
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 dried red chilli, chopped
  • sea salt
  • toasted bread rubbed with a garlic clove, to serve (optional)


  1. Boil the spelt in plenty of lightly salted water for 50 minutes-1 hour, until tender.

  2. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a separate pan for 10 minutes, then add the courgettes, two types of beans, cabbage leaves and carrots and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until tender.

  3. Drain both the cooked spelt and the cooked vegetables.
  4. In a large frying pan, fry the pancetta and garlic in the olive oil until the garlic is softened and the pancetta is crispy. Discard the garlic.
  5. Add the spelt and all the vegetables to the frying pan. Mix well and season with salt and the dried red chilli. Stir-fry everything together for 5 minutes to heat through, then serve. If you wish, serve on a slice of toasted bread and drizzled with oil.