Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Autumn Harvest Farrotto

I read the word "farrotto" recently and felt my hackles rise.  I had an instant dislike of the word.  Farro is farro.  Why do we need to make a farro dish and give it quirky Italian names?  Just cook your farro and make a salad as I have done in the past.

Then I realized something.  Maybe the term wasn't just for a dish made out of farro, but farro cooked risotto style.  I had never considered cooking farro that way.  The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was by it.  How would slowly cooking farro by gradually adding small amounts of broth change the flavor and texture?  I realized I wanted to try it.

I'm still not sure if I like the word "farrotto" though.  Is it a real word, or is it just some frankenword made up because someone didn't feel like saying, "farro risotto"?  I can tolerate the former, but I still think the latter is kind of corny.

But I'll say it anyway.  I made farrotto.

I put an autumnal spin on the dish by roasting (and roasting and roasting) carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and fennel until nice and brown.  Most vegetables taste good when roasted until brown.  Lots of roasting is about the best thing you can do a vegetable (except carrots, which are only good cooked if roast them and are best eaten raw).  I added this to the farro and made a lovely seasonal dish out of it.

I threw some leftover shrimp on top (leftover from a recovery meal at Rani Mahal).  I wish they hadn't obscured the farro so much for the photo.  I also threw some sausage on top of my portion.  (What?  You think Kevin and I both ate the shrimp?  You're funny!)  This works fine as a meal without the extra protein though.  If you make it with vegetable broth, it would be a perfect vegan lunch. 

Farro does not take on the creamy consistency of Arborio rice, no matter how much stock you add to it.  I'm not sure using this method of cooking is any better than cooking it the traditional way.  I'll include the instructions for this in the recipe, but if you don't want to bother, I'm sure just cooking farro the regular way and tossing in the roasted vegetables would be just as tasty.

Autumn Harvest Farrotto

  • 5 medium carrots cut in small dice
  • 4 medium parsnips cut in small dice
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cut in small dice
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut in chunks
  • 2 Tb olive oil plus more for tossing
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 medium onion, cut in small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 16 oz package of pearled farro
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • Salt to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the carrots, parsnips, fennel, and sweet potato in olive oil and a little salt.  Spread on a cookie sheet and roast about an hour, or until the vegetables develop brown edges.  Remove from oven.  Carefully remove any skin from sweet potato and gently break in small pieces.  Set aside.

Heat the stock in a small saucepan and keep it simmering on the stove.

In a saucepan heat 2 Tb olive oil and the butter.  Cook the onions in this until they are transparent.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or until fragrant.  Add the farro and stir well to coat.  Cook for another two minutes.  Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.

Add a ladle full of the stock to the pot.  Stir until it is absorbed.  Keep adding stock and stirring in until all of the stock is absorbed into the farro and the farro is fairly tender.  Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Stir in the vegetables and serve.  Top with sausage or shrimp if you like.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Yeah, "Farrotto" is kind of a weird word, but I LOVE "Frankenword". May I say that I don't love farro? And if long, slow, stirring all the time cooking doesn't do anything much for its texture, I'm with you. Cook it the normal way and do what you want with it. I guess you could also cheat in the exemplary way Ina does for her oven risotto. If you throw enough butter or creme fraiche or sour cream or ALL OF THAT into a cooked grain, it will come out pretty risotto-y.