Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Farro Risotto

When my dad and I went to The Fork & Wrench a couple of months back, the best thing I ate was the farro risotto that accompanied my fatty and under-seasoned duck breast. (Yes, I am still bitter about that. I wanted the scallops, dammit.) I fell in love with the pleasantly chewy texture of farro and vowed to recreate the dish at home.

Unfortunately, farro isn't one of those things available in just any grocery store, so I had to turn to teh Innernets to find a source. Farro ain't cheap, because in most cases, it has to be ordered in bulk. However, I did find one company, Capri Flavors, that let me order a single pound of the stuff for a relatively mere $4.44. (I also bought some other Italian goodies and was pleased that my order shipped so quickly.)

Despite being pretty gung-ho to make the risotto...err...farrotto...I put the stuff in the cabinet and forgot about it for several weeks, digging it out only recently to play with it.

I wasn't sure how long it would take to cook the stuff - would making a farrotto take longer than a risotto made with rice? or steel cut oats?  So I consulted the Google. Giada the Human Lollipop suggested soaking the farro in water for 30 minutes, which softened the stuff up nicely. After draining, the farro only needed about 2 cups of stock to make it tender enough to eat, but I used three. I used only onion and salt and pepper as seasonings, but that was adequate--the result was quite tasty. Next time though, I think I'll try adding some mushrooms.

Here's a recipe of sorts...I don't think this sort of thing is rocket science, since I didn't measure anything and it came out fine. You might want to read it all the way through before you start cooking.

Saute 1/2 cup chopped onion in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. That seems like a lot of oil, but once the onion has softened, toss in 1 cup of farro that has been soaked in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes and drained. Stir until the farro is coated with oil (add more if necessary) and starts to brown, 5 minutes or so. Meanwhile, have 3 cups of chicken stock warming in a saucepan nearby. When the farro is toasty, put in a cup of stock. Stir regularly until stock is mostly evaporated, then add another cup. Hell, put the rest in - it won't matter. Cook over medium heat until there's just a bit of moisture left, then put in a couple tablespoons of butter and a splash or two of cream (heavy, light, half-and-half - whatever you have). Cheese is nice, too - I added a half cup of shredded Muenster, because that's what I had. Stir until it's all nice and creamy, season with salt and pepper, and then eat. Right out of the pan, if that's what floats your boat.

Posted on Minxeats.com.