Farro translates to ‘grain’ in Italian. This healthy alternative to white rice is an ancient grain that dates back thousands of years and a staple in my kitchen.
I love farro, not only for it’s nutritional value, but also it’s chewy texture when cooked. It is very similar to barley, another nutritious ancient grain.
Nowadays, it is pretty hard to deny that white starches aren’t the healthiest choice and it’s nice to find different alternatives, that are not only good for you, but actually taste delicious!
Farro is packed with fibre, vitamins and protein, among other things, making it difficult to not want to try it out. Adding farro to your diet can help improve your cardiovascular health, regulate diabetes, lower cholesterol and with a lower caloric intake.
The key when cooking farro is not undercook it or overcook it. Scared? Don’t be, it’s easier than you think. I usually use 40 minutes as my target time, and taste it a little before and after until I reach my desired texture. Typically it will take 40-50 minutes, depending on different factors.
If you haven’t tried farro, I highly recommend you do. This risotto recipe is really easy to follow and you will look like a professional chef at your next dinner party. It is very versatile and once you know the basics, you can incorporate a variety of ingredients.
Pumpkin and Mushroom Farrotto
- 1/2 a small pumpkin, peeled and cubed.
- 1 garlic clove, minced.
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil, may need more.
- 2 cups of cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly.
- 1/2 white onion, diced.
- 400 grams of farro (1 pkg).
- 5-6 cups of broth
- 1/2 bottle of dry white cooking wine, pinot grigio is a good choice.
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons of grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1/4 cup of butter
- Dice the pumpkin, season with salt, olive oil and freshly minced garlic.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- On a baking pan, place parchment paper and add the diced pumpkin.
- Sprinkle a little salt and olive oil and let it roast for about 25 minutes.
- Once done, set aside and let it cool.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pan on medium high heat.
- Sautee onions, until translucent.
- Add mushrooms and combine with onions.
- Add a splash of white wine to the pan, this will add some flavour and help it from sticking.
- Once the mushrooms have started to turn golden brown and water has evaporated(about 6-8 minutes), salt them and remove from pan.
Cooking the Farro
While the pumpkin is roasting, start working on the farro.
- Add pumpkin puree to your broth and let it simmer for a few minutes to infuse the flavour. Your broth does not have to be boiling to add into the farro.
- In a large pan heat up 2 tablespoons of EVOO (medium high). You want to use a pan large enough that won’t overcrowd the grain.
- Add the farro into the pan and let it toast for about 2 minutes, stirring it so it doesn’t stick or burn.
- Pour white wine into the pan and stir it into the mixture. You want to cover the farro, not drown it.
- Once the wine starts to absorb, add a ladle of broth.
- Continue adding a ladle of broth as the farro continues to absorb it.
- Continue doing this for about 40 minutes (always tasting the farro, ensuring the texture is how you want it).
- Add the pumpkin and mushrooms.
- Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of parmigiano reggiano and cubed pieces of butter, mixing it into the risotto. (this will make your risotto extra creamy)
- Serve immediately to enjoy a warm creamy dish.