Farro Risotto! A healthy risotto that’s so flavorful! Farro cooked with white wine, vegetable broth, shallots and mushrooms. Vegetarian or Vegan, your choice.
Is farro the new kale?
In the last few months, I’ve seen farro pop up on several menus, magazines and blogs. Which begs the question- is farro the hottest new ingredient? Like quinoa last year and kale before that, I’m predicting big things for this ancient Italian grain.
But whatever its fate, one thing is definite, it’s spectacular! And we should all be eating it. Nutty, chewy and flavorful, I am considering starting a farro fan club.
I’m a sucker for anything risotto. While I know some people shy away from the perceived complications of the dish, I relish in it. For me, I put on a favorite television show, pour myself a glass of wine, and unwind as I stir, stir, stir until creamy perfection is achieved.
I originally planned to make champagne risotto, you know, in the spirit of New Years on Thursday, but then I remembered the giant bag of farro I bought on a whim and decided to call an audible. When we were in Vegas a few weeks back, one of the many meals we devoured was a delicious farro risotto served with a few different types of mushrooms. With inspiration found, the creation begins!
I am using whole, brown farro which not only contains more fiber and B vitamins, but also has a nutty, more robust flavor. The only downside is having to presoak the grain before using it. You could get away with soaking for only a few hours, but ideally overnight is best.
For the mushrooms, I am using a crimini, but feel free to get wild with more exotic types. I tend to choose crimini the majority of the time because as much as I love shitake and oyster mushrooms, they tend to be almost double the price.
The beauty of this dish is that farro is cooked the same way as risotto. Lightly brown the soaked and drained farro, then slowly add in a flavorful broth a cup at a time until the liquid is absorbed and the farro is al dente. For an extra punch of flavor, I use a little white wine in the beginning, but feel free to omit it for extra broth.
While the farro is cooking, make the mushrooms! Saute in a little olive oil and a generous pinch of salt, pepper and thyme. When the farro is almost finished, add in the ‘shrooms! For a dairy version, finish with a little vegetarian parmesan cheese. For a vegan version, sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in at the end!
- 1 cup farro, soaked at least two hours
- 2 tsp. oil, divided
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1.5 tsp. thyme
- ¼ cup white wine
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese (Optional. Use vegan parmesan cheese or 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast for vegan version)
- Soak unhulled farro for at least 2 hours in water. Once soaked, drain and rinse.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat and add the shallots, mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Saute until caramelized and brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining tsp. of oil over medium heat and add the farro. Cook until toasted and nutty, about 1-2 minutes.
- In a separate sauce pan, bring the 4 cups of vegetable broth to a simmer.
- Stir in the ¼ cup white wine and stir until absorbed.
- Add in the vegetable broth, ½ cup at a time until well absorbed. Continue to add broth in, ½ cup at a time until you have gone through 3 cups of broth. Stir the farro often to ensure that the liquid is absorbed.
- Add in the reserved mushroom mixture and add in another ½ cup of broth. Keep stirring until creamy, stirring in the parmesan cheese.
- You make not need the remaining ½ cup of broth but if you need more moisture, add in the last ½ cup.
- Season with salt/pepper as needed and serve hot.