Monday, January 13, 2014

Mushroom Parmesan Farro

I have a sixth sense. And right now it's telling me that you want to ask something... it's becoming clearer... you want to know..."What in tarnation is farro, anyway?" Did I get it? Yeah, I thought so. Ok, so, good question. I really didn't know what farro was either until recently, but here is the lowdown. Farro is a grain, basically a kind of wheat, similar to barley. You can buy it (from a higher end grocery store like Fresh Market or Whole Foods) and it comes in three kinds: whole, semi-pearled and pearled. Whole is the most nutritious, but takes the longest to cook. I used whole for this recipe and based on how good it tasted, I think I would stick with whole. It's always good to have something healthy also taste great! I found this recipe on Cusineous, and only modified it to add mushrooms to make it more of a robust meal, and I used part chicken broth and part water instead of all water, for flavor. I was the most worried that the Hubs wouldn't be into it at all, but he really enjoyed it. It was a lot like risotto, very creamy, very homey. It had a bit more "tooth" than risotto does, a little more chewy, but I liked that. It really filled me up and that full feeling lasted for a while, so it's not only healthy, it keeps you satisfied. If you are looking for a healthy meal, give farro a shot!

1 cup farro
3 cups liquid (I did 2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup water, but use any ratio you like.)
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (give or take) mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tbsps olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

So, we weren't exactly sure if we were supposed to soak the farro or not. Some people say soak overnight, some say just cook it, so we hedged our bets and soaked it in cold water for about an hour. I don't think you need to do this step, it just might lower the amount of time you need to cook your farro. Maybe. Do it if it makes you feel better. Then add the farro and liquid (chicken broth and water in any ratio you desire as long as it makes 3 cups) to a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Then turn it down to simmer and simmer until the farro has absorbed all the liquid. For us it took about 45 minutes. About 10 minutes before your farro is done, you can start the rest. In a pan over medium heat, heat your oil and add the mushrooms. I also like to salt the mushrooms just a touch. Cook them for around 7 minutes until the mushrooms start to get golden brown, then add in your garlic. Cook that for another couple minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't brown or burn. Then add the farro, cheese and parsley and stir. Add some pepper and taste to see if it needs more salt (ours didn't) and then serve right away. Like risotto, it doesn't do well just sitting out for awhile, so keep that in mind. I hope you will love it and give farro a chance!

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