WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Sweet, nutty, and pleasantly chewy, farro—a favorite grain in Italian cuisine—stands in for pasta in this salad, but the cooking method remains the same. We boiled it in plenty of water, which delivered grains with a fantastic al dente texture. And because each grain stayed distinct, the luscious sauce was able to thoroughly coat each one. For a vibrant, flavorful pesto, we combined basil, spinach, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and yogurt—the last of which lightened the pesto’s color and flavor and gave it a creamy texture. Halved cherry tomatoes brightened the salad. Jarred artichoke hearts were an easy, zesty addition. We prefer the flavor and texture of whole farro; pearled farro can be used, but the texture may be softer. Do not use quickcooking or presteamed farro. The cooking time for farro can vary greatly among brands, so we recommend beginning to check for doneness after 10 minutes.
1½ cups whole farro, rinsed
½ teaspoon table salt, plus salt for cooking farro
1½ ounces (1½ cups) baby spinach
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup raw sunflower seeds, toasted
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup plain yogurt
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups jarred whole baby artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed, patted dry, and quartered
1 Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add farro and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook, stirring often, until grains are tender with slight chew, 15 to 30 minutes. Drain and rinse under running water; drain well. Spread farro onto rimmed baking sheet and let cool. 2 Meanwhile, pulse baby spinach, basil, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor until finely ground, 20 to 30 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly add oil until incorporated. Add yogurt and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses; transfer pesto to large bowl. 3 Toss cooled farro with pesto until combined. Gently stir in tomatoes and artichoke hearts and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in warm water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to adjust consistency. Serve.