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 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 lb. asparagus tough ends removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 ½ c. no-beef broth or mushroom stock
- 1 ½ c. uncooked farro
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 oz. wild mushroom blend sliced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- ¼ c. grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ 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 ½ 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 ½ 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 ½ cup of broth, stir in cheese as well. When broth is absorbed completely, stir in parsley, roasted asparagus, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.