1 1/2 cups farro
1 medium eggplant
Olive oil or cooking spray for coating
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup good kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to finish (optional)
Shredded basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a big pinch of salt and the farro; reduce the heat to medium and cook the farro just until tender, about 30 minutes.
Slice the eggplant into medium-thick slices, toss with olive oil or sprinkle with salt. Place the slices on a baking sheet and roast in oven, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes.
Slice the peppers and toss with olive oil and salt. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Roast until shriveled and browned, about 10 minutes.
When the eggplant and peppers are cool enough to handle, roughy chop them, taking care not to lose their juices. Toss the vegetables with the farro and stir in the chopped olives.
Whisk the lemon juice with 4 tablespoons olive oil. Toss the farro and vegetables with 1/4 cup of the dressing and let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving. Toss again with the remaining dressing, grate cheese over the salad, and sprinkle with the basil, if using.
Note: To turn this into an entrée, add about 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or a regular-size can, drained and rinsed, to the farro.
Crumbled feta can be used instead of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. The dish can be made ahead up to the final steps and refrigerated, and then brought back to room temperature before serving.