Chef's Recipes

Insalata agrodolce di cannellini

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for insalata agrodolce di cannellini by Pendolino chef Nino Zoccali.

By Nino Zoccali
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus soaking
  • Serves 6
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Insalata agrodolce di cannellini
“I really enjoyed the cannellini bean and farro salad I had at Pendolino’s – the dressing was delicious. Would you ask chef Nino Zoccali for the recipe please?”
Helen Faber, Neutral Bay, NSW
To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, , GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant’s name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.
Garafagna-style cannellini bean and farro salad with truffle pecorino, baby herbs and agrodolce di Nebbiolo vinegar. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 200 gm dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight (1 cup)
  • 1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • ½ onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200 gm organic farro pelato (see note)
  • ¼ cup small tarragon leaves (loosely packed)
  • 40 gm baby herbs, such as chervil, rocket, chard, rocket cress and parsley (about 4 punnets), trimmed
  • 50 gm truffle pecorino, shaved (see note)
Aged Nebbiolo dressing
  • 1 roasted garlic clove (see note)
  • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml Nebbiolo agrodolce red wine vinegar (see note)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 tsp white sugar, or to taste


  • 1
    Drain and rinse cannellini beans. Place in a saucepan with vegetables and bay leaves, cover with plenty of cold water, bring to the boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until cooked through (25-30 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add farro, return to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  • 3
    For aged Nebbiolo dressing, mash roasted garlic and mustard together with a fork in a bowl, gradually drizzle in oil, whisking to combine, then whisk in vinegar and season to taste with lemon juice, sugar, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
  • 4
    Combine cannellini beans and farro pelato in a bowl with half the herbs and pecorino. Drizzle over dressing, reserving 1 tsp, toss to combine and spoon into bowls. Combine remaining herbs and dressing, scatter over salad, then scatter over remaining pecorino.


Farro pelato is a type of grain available from Italian delicatessens. Truffle pecorino is available from specialty cheese shops. To roast garlic, preheat oven to 200C, wrap a head of garlic tightly in aluminium foil and roast until very soft (20-25 minutes). Squeeze garlic from skin and use as required. Nebbiolo agrodolce red wine vinegar is made from Nebbiolo grapes and is available from Pendolino and select delicatessens.

  • Author: Nino Zoccali