Monday, October 3, 2011

Farro Mushroom Risotto

I've made some disparaging comments about the grain Farro before, but since I never had it, I didn't really have anything to base it on. I guess it was because Farro is really not main stream at this point, but if you read blogs and watch food TV, you know everybody  is doing it.
I guess the second everybody is doing something, I want to do something else... 

Anyways, I take it all back. 
I saw Farro in the bulk food section of Central Market the other day, so I bought some. It looks like BIG wheat kernels, or elongated barley. It tastes a bit like barley, but nuttier with more chewiness.  I paired it with mushrooms and cheese with a little cream, and some fresh herbs. Yum! I liked it.
I used goat cheese, but really, any cheese that you have, and like, would work out. If you decide to use broth instead of water to make this risotto, use low sodium, as the broth reduces and the saltiness intensifies.

This dish, like any risotto, takes some stirring and some time.  Pour yourself a glass of wine, and get someone to sit and chat with you while you cook. It will be fun!

Serves 4-6
1 Tbsp  olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups farro (10 ounces)
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups water, (approx)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cheese (goat cheese, feta, cheddar, parmesan)
2 teaspoons butter
Fresh thyme, chives, or parsley (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Before you start the recipe, soak the farro for about 30 minutes in about 6 cups of water. Drain.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and coat another 5-7 minutes until mushrooms start to brown.  Add the drained farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat it with the oil.

Add the wine and cook, stirring until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Add the water, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring, until absorbed between additions. The farro is done when it is al dente and suspended in the thick, creamy liquid, about 25-30 minutes total.
Stir in the heavy cream, the cheese and butter and simmer until the risotto has thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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