Lately, farro has been a go-to grain in my kitchen. I love that with its nutty flavor, it turns a regular dish into one that is healthy and delicious. I usually keep some cooked farro in my fridge so that I can stir it into salads, soups, or whenever I want to give a dish some chewiness and texture. Or sometimes, I even mix it in a bowl of fresh fruit and add a dollop of fat-free yogurt as a healthy breakfast or a quick afternoon snack.
But this time, I wanted to find a way to bring the farro into the spotlight as the main ingredient of a dish, in a dish that celebrates what I love so much about it – its chewy texture. That is how I ended up making farrotto.
At first, I was going to call it Farro Risotto, but after doing a little research, I found out that you can call a dish “risotto” only if you make it with Arborio rice. If you make it with farro, it is called farrotto.
The technique for making farrotto is very similar to making risotto. You basically stir small amounts of stock into farro a little at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed after each addition. In time, it releases its starch, giving it a creamy consistency.
For this recipe, I used a cup of dry white wine to build flavor, but if you prefer it without, feel free to omit it. Also, I used mushrooms and asparagus because that is what I had in my fridge, but you could certainly use other vegetables to flavor it.
That being said, I highly recommend giving the mushroom- asparagus-tarragon combination a try, because I think the flavor of this threesome greatly enhances the end product.
Mushroom and Asparagus Farrotto with Tarragon
- 1 1/2 cup (10 ounces) uncooked farro, rinsed and soaked for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight
- 6 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup Portobello mushrooms rinsed and sliced
- 5-6 stalks of asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic pressed through a garlic press
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup +2 tablespoons Parmesan freshly grated – divided
- 1/4 cup +2 tablespoons fresh tarragon chopped – divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- salt and black pepper
- Place the vegetable stock in a medium size pan, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer in low heat.
- Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven (or a heavy bottom pot) over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, until nicely browned, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the asparagus, and cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Place the asparagus and the mushrooms in a bowl, cover with aluminum foil, and set aside. Do not wash the Dutch oven.
- In the same Dutch oven, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent 4-5 minutes.
- Strain the farro. Add it into the pot and stir until every piece is coated with the juices in the pot.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and cook until it is nearly absorbed.
- Stir in 2 cups of stock, cover it with the lid, and let it cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. At the end of 20 minutes, it will start getting creamy.
- Add the rest of the simmering stock, 1-cup at a time, stirring frequently and waiting for each addition to be absorbed before adding more. (This whole process takes close to 30 more minutes.)
- Right before pouring the last cup, add the mushroom and asparagus. Stir and cook until most of the juices are absorbed, but it is still moist and creamy.
- Stir in the butter, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, tarragon, and lemon juice. Turn off the heat, put the lid on, and allow it to marinade for 5-10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add if necessary.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle it with tarragon, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.