Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Farro Risotto

This is our second recipe in a week inspired by Broders Pasta Bar here in Minneapolis. This spring Matt had a dish there that featured farro & couldn't stop talking about how much he liked the farro. Then, when we were there two weeks ago I had the risotto special which used farro instead of rice & also really liked the slightly nutty flavor & great texture of the farro. It was that dish that we tried to replicate here.
Summer Farro Risotto
We weren't familiar with farro at all so I did a little reading about it on line. Farrro (also sometimes called Emmer) is apparently the original grain from which all other grains are derived. Some people say it is the same as spelt but farro retains a firm, chewy texture when cooked that spelt doesn't. Apparently, ground it makes a good wheat flour substitute for people who can't tolerate wheat. It has begun to regain popularity in recent years especially in Italy. Farro is really good for you with lots of protein, fiber & a carbohydrate that helps to stimulate the immune system. I read that served with beans it is a complete protein which makes it great for vegetarians. To top it off it tastes really good too!

We were making a risotto-style dish but the farro requires a little preparation first with soaking & then simmering. I saw some preparations that skipped the simmering but then ended up stirring & adding broth for 45 minutes! I'd much rather simmer it for a while & then just do the hands on bit for 10 - 15 minutes. Timing was perfect to make this dinner because both the cherry tomatoes & basil were ready to be picked in our garden.
Harvest
(I wish you could just smell this photo, it's truly the smell of summer.)
The final dish was creamy like a risotto but heartier like we had made it with brown rice instead of white. The freshness of the tomatoes, basil & fresh mozzarella really made the flavors pop in your mouth. Also because we didn't add any cream this dish isn't too heavy like a lot of risottos can be.

Farro isn't something we found in our local grocery store. We actually ended up going to Broders Deli to pick some up. It's not cheap at $14 a pound but I like the health benefits of it. I want to try playing with in in other preparations like a cold salad or in soup. If you can't find farro try wheat berries as a substitute.

Summer Farro Risotto

3/4 c farro
1 T olive oil
1/2 T salted butter
2 T red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c white wine (or chicken stock)
3/4 - 1 c chicken stock or vegetable broth
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 oz fresh mozzarella pearls
10 basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
salt & pepper

Put farro into a bowl & cover with cold water. Let soak for 20 minutes. Drain.

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and the soaked farro. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Drain & rinse the farro.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a small saucepan. Keep simmering.

In a medium saucepan heat the remaining olive oil & the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion & garlic. Sauté until tender & the onion is starting to look translucent. Add the farro. Stir to coat. Add the white wine & cook while stirring until absorbed. Add the hot chicken stock about 1/4 cups or so at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. Keep adding stock until the farro is tender & creamy but still has a slight bite, sort of like brown rice. Stir in the tomatoes & heat through. Remove from heat & stir in the mozzarella & about 3/4's of the basil. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Serve topped with remaining basil.

2 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

12 comments:

Recipe for Delicious said...

I laughed at myself when I realized I was actually trying to smell your photo (I realize how insane that sounds). This looks delicious. I have a feeling I'll have to go to the city for farro...

Kate said...

I love farro and have made several pilaf type dishes with it, my most favorite being one with gold beets and their greens and goat cheese. I have a favorite recipe with lentils and farro too. It's a wonderful grain!

Sandy said...

I've been intrigued by farro for a long time but have never attempted it. Looks like a good summer recipe!

A Thought For Food said...

I usually don't make risotto in the summer, but this like a wonderful recipe. We have some fresh tomatoes in our garden that would be perfect for this.

Carter @ The Kitchenette said...

This looks amazing, Kat! I would never have thought to do risotto with farro!

I'm definitely going to have to try this, simply because I can NOT get enough farro in my diet.

Where are you purchasing your farro? I get mine from the store but it's like $8 for 4 cups dry... I think I might look into getting some off of Amazon, it's way cheaper there.

kat said...

Carter - We paid about $14 for a pound at an Italian deli. I just got some for about $8 a pound in Seattle but am thinking of going the Amazon route too.

Sippity Sup said...

Does the farro let off starch like rice making a creamy sauce?? GREG

kat said...

Greg - It isn't as creamy as the rice version but does have a nice thickened broth.

Peter M said...

A fine health-wise dish...I like the nuttyness of farro that reminds me of bulgur.

grace said...

i'm unfamiliar with farro, but clearly that needs to change! using it for a risotto-like dish is brilliant and looks really tasty. :)

Lori said...

I've seen farro here, but have yet to cook with it. Your dish looks wonderful! That shot of the tomatoes and basil is beautiful. I really could almost smell it.

Deborah said...

I need to branch out and try some new grains.

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