On a recent trip to Tuscany, I discovered farro, an ancient grain used in a number of Tuscan salads and soups. It's high in fiber, magnesium, and vitamins, and it's a great substitute for pasta, rice, and couscous in salads. It can be hard to find, so some recipes suggest spelt and pearled barley as substitutes. I've found farro at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and some local markets.
My favorite farro salad (created with inspiration from my Tuscan trip): cooked farro, cut up tomatoes, kalamata olives, mozzarella cut into bite-sized pieces (buffalo mozzarella is particularly delicious), minced shallots, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper -- no measurements -- just mix the ingredients to taste.
Another very nice post. Thanks for the information and Thanks for sharing such a great article with us. I love good food, wine and eating! I will likely be moving to Lucca in Tuscany in the next year or so, and I am interested in going to culinary school