creamy farrotto con funghi e veggies

So whole grain is so much more healthy than processed grains. bob is not so sure about arborio rice, but it is certainly not whole. What to do when risotto with veggies is such a great plant based dish that hits the spot? We once considered mixing in farro with arborio, since farro is a really good grain that dates back to the Roman Empire. However, we only did it once. We try farro once in a while but not often enough. One of those unexplained food facts about the ani&bob kitchen.

Farro comes preprocessed (when it says cooks in 10 minutes), pearled (removed outer husk), and whole, which takes roughly 30 minutes to cook. Tuesday is Ani's teaching day, we are up at 5:35am and she is off before 7am to beat the traffic to her 8am chem lab. She is gone all day. Leaving the kitchen wide open for bob to mess it up with his cuisine creativity. bob fuels up with a short Nespresso which seems to do the trick to keep him buzzing all day.  Remembering the absence of recent farro activity, the dinner started to focus (to reward Ani after a tough day at the lab). An America's Test Kitchen episode stuck in his mind explaining how to make a creamy parmesan farotto, so a quick web search turned it up and a quick watch set up the parameters, but bob likes color in his dishes, so what stuff to add in? We had some asparagus on hand for color, and some baby sweet peppers (oragen and red), and a leek to kick up the onion contribution to the mix but mushrooms seemed to want a place in the lineup. Off to Whole Foods up the Blue Route a few minutes and the complete lack of farro at home was resolved with semi-pearled farro (cooking time 20-25 minutes). Will have to do although ATK used extreme whole farro for their approach. Shitake precut (bob is lazy) and some baby bellas requiring peeling, plus a few almost ripe avocados that Whole Foods seems to be good at supplying, and the quick trip is complete.

The farrotto starts with the onion, then chopped sweet pepper, then leek, then the farro to soak up a bit of flavor, then a hit of white wine, and then the porcini mushroom broth from cubes we brought from Rome. Asparagus separately cooking with Ani's peeling and boiling method, Mushrooms in another pan. Maximun chaos. Combined together for the finishing act.

Ani likes the result. Downed with the usual Sark salad and a nice Italian red wine. Taking two modest portions, but bob goes for 3 piggish servings finishing the whole cup production.

ingredients

1 c farro, pulsed about 6 times in a blender
3 c water plus 2 cubes mushroom or veggie broth
8oz chanterrelles plus 4 oz baby bellas, chopped and sauteed apart (whatever mushrooms are fine)
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 small leek, chopped
1/3 orange or red sweet pepper, chopped
1/2 c white wine
1/2 lb asparagus, precooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (did we forget the salt?)
1/2 c fresh parmigiano, grated

instructions

  1. Start a tea kettle boiling for the broth water. Combine with the mushroom broth cubes and set aside.
  2. rep and cook the asparagus. Chop.
  3. Meanwhile, prep the mushrooms and saute them in a bit of butter, then set aside.
  4. Prep the onion, leek and sweet pepper (for a bit of constrasting color) and saute until softened in a large nonstick pot.
  5. Dump in the farro and let soak up some flavor while it toasts, without burning it.
  6. Dump in the wine to let it cook a bit longer without burning, until the liquid is evaporated somewhat.
  7. Now pour the mushroom broth into the pot and simmer for 25 or 30 minutes depending on how refined your farro is (a lot less if you pick the qujick cooking variety).
  8. Dump in the mushrooms and asparagus after about 15 minutes.
  9. When the farro seems done (judgement call), remove from the heat and stir in the parmigiano.
  10. Serve with additional parmigiano at the table.

notes

  1. America's Test Kitchen suggests using a blender to contribute to the creaminess of the farotto. See:
    Erin Shows Julia How to Make Creamy Parmesan Farrotto video
  2. A NYTimes suggestion for mixing farro and arborio: see note 2 of risotto redux.
  3. Illustrations available.
creamyfarrotto.htm: 16-nov-2021 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]