I've been on this new kick lately of trying new grains. This is where farro came in...Farro is an Italian grain that's packed with fiber, magnesium and low in calories and fat. Not to mention it's delicious and can be used in salads, soups and is very versatile. I'm drawn to its nutty flavor and because of this I thought it was a perfect fit for a fall-inspired risotto. Because the farro is a pretty tough grain, it has to be par-cooked before you jump into making the risotto, but the beauty of it is that it'll yield a more firm, al dente texture that you don't necessarily get with Arborio rice. When the nuttiness of the farro is brought together with pungent sage, woody mushrooms and chives, it becomes an essence of fall.
Mushroom + Herb Farro Risotto
1 1/3 cup farro
24 ounces chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
1 sm-med yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped)
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup Parmesan, finely grated (+ a piece of the rind)
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese, divided
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Par cook the farro: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add farro and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Warm the chicken stock in a pot on medium-low heat.
3. In a medium-large pot, sweat the onions in a few Tablespoons of olive oil , salt and pepper, on medium heat until translucent (about 5-10 minutes).
4. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the farro and cook for an additional 2 minutes (to pearl).
5. Add wine and cook until reduced almost completely.
6. Start to add the stock, ladle by ladle. Add one ladle, then wait until the liquid reduces almost completely, then add another ladle, and so on until the stock is gone. (**Be patient! The risotto process from here on out will take about 30 minutes!) During this process, be sure to keep and eye on the farro and stir with a wooden spoon after every time stock is added.
7. After 30 minutes, the farro should be tender but not mushy. Pull from the heat and add the butter, 1 Tablespoon of the ricotta, Parmesan, chives and sage. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
While the lovely risotto cooks and works it's magic, you can whip up this ricotta mixture (a dollop will go on top of each plate to finish).Combine ricotta cheese (all 1/2 cup besides 1 Tablespoon), 1 Tablespoon of chives and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix together and pop it in the fridge to chill.
Spoon risotto into bowls or onto plates. Garnish with a spoonful of the ricotta mixture and a sprinkle of chives.
Ta-Dah! I hope you like this risotto variation of mine!
Bon Appetit everyone!