Recipe | Farro Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Asparagus
Even though I love risotto, I don’t cook it very often. It’s not that I find it complicated or that it doesn’t turn out well when I make it, it’s just that I’m lazy and easily distracted. Standing over a Dutch oven full of rice and broth for 40 minutes seems like some kind of cruel punishment from a fairy tale. Like, I’m sure Cinderella’s evil step-sisters made her prepare them risotto for dinner every night.
Despite my aversion to making risotto, when I saw a recipe for farro risotto in Cooking Light, my interest was piqued. I’m on a bit of grain kick and farro is one of the few that I haven’t tried. I also (mistakenly!) thought that maybe I could spend a little bit less time babysitting farro risotto. But you know what? It was totally worth the time and effort. Farro risotto is good. Dare I say better than risotto risotto? Yes, I dare!
Farro is chewy and nutty and much more filling then Arborio rice, yet it still has that risotto creaminess that I love. I tweaked the original recipe a little by adding roasted asparagus, more onion, and wild mushrooms. I also used no-beef broth since we had that on hand, although there’s probably only a slight difference in flavor if you use the original recipe’s mushroom stock instead.
If you have this for a meal, be prepared to be full afterwards. Pleasantly full, but full nonetheless.
1 lb. asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
5 1/2 c. no-beef broth or mushroom stock
1 1/2 c. uncooked farro
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. wild mushroom blend, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 c. grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place dried shiitake mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and coarsely chop.
Toss asparagus and 2 tsp. of olive oil on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through.
Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Keep stock warm over low heat.
Heat remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add farro and onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add shiitake mushrooms and wild mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes or until wild mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine and thyme; cook until liquid almost evaporates.
Add 1/2 cup of broth to farro mixture; cook over medium heat 4 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 5 cups of broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until stock is absorbed before adding the next. (This takes about 40 minutes. Yes really.)
When adding the last 1/2 cup of broth, stir in cheese as well. When broth is absorbed completely, stir in parsley, roasted asparagus, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.