Farro Risotto from America’s Test Kitchen

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Farro with Fennel, Radicchio, and Balsamic
Farro with Fennel, Radicchio, and Balsamic (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Jack Bishop from America’s Test Kitchen is on Good Food this week.  He and Evan talked about cooking with whole grains, including farro, quinoa and whole wheat pasta.  Jack likes whole wheat pasta with oil based sauces, but thinks a cream-based sauce would be better with traditional varieties.  He likes Bionaturae, an Italian brand, the best.  Here’s what he had to say about farro:

Farro is a whole grain form of wheat that has been enjoyed for centuries in Tuscany and central Italy. Italians traditionally cook farro in the same manner as Arborio rice to create a creamy dish called farrotto. Thanks to praise for farro from scores of culinary magazines and top chefs, it is gaining favor with home cooks and is more widely available in natural and gourmet foods stores. We love it for its slightly sweet, big, nutty flavor and chewy texture, not to mention its health benefits (it is high in fiber and protein). We found the best way to cook farro is to leave it uncovered and stir it often. Uncovered, the liquid was able to evaporate slowly as the farro cooked. Frequent stirring helped release the starches in the farro creating a rich and creamy consistency—without any butter or cream!

He shared this recipe for Farro Risotto (after the jump).  Hear his interview with Evan here.

Farro Risotto
Serves 5

For a creamy texture, be sure to stir the risotto often in step 2.

1 onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups farro
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Combine the onion, carrot, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the farro and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the farro is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Farro Risotto with Arugula, Lemon, and Parmesan
Omit the carrot. Stir in 2 ounces baby arugula, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest with the parsley before serving.

Farro Risotto with Fennel, Radicchio, and Balsamic Vinegar
Substitute 1 finely chopped fennel bulb for the carrot and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar for the lemon juice. Stir in 1/2 small head thinly sliced radicchio with the parsley in step 3.

Getting to Know: Farro