Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Brussels Sprouts & Prosciutto Farro Risotto

Ah, the dreaded Brussels sprout! This vegetable is single-handedly responsible for billions of children sitting at the table refusing to eat until their parents gave up and sent them to bed. Not even broccoli enjoys such a sordid history of disgust. But Brussels Sprouts are enjoying a mini-revival in the foodie-scene. These tiny cabbages are popping up on menus everywhere, and after tasting this recipe (which I found on Domesticate Me) they will be popping up in my home quite frequently as well. Plus, there’s the added bonus of feeling like this is a pretty nutritious meal. Farro AND Brussels sprouts, come on. (And prosciutto, I know, that kind of hurts my healthy argument). We loved this recipe, and even though it took awhile to make, it was worth it. Creamy, nutty, with the salt from the prosciutto and the great burst of flavor when you get a piece of Brussels sprout, this will be a big hit with your family (yes, even the kids.)

4 Tbsps olive oil, divided
8-1s Brussels sprouts, washed and quartered
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1¼ cups farro
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 ounces prosciutto, diced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

We soaked our farrow for about two hours in cold water before we made this. I have no idea if it had any effect but I was afraid not to do it. If you want to go rogue and unsoaked, I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

Start by pouring your chicken stock or broth into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. You’ll want to keep it at that simmer throughout this process. Go to your Brussels sprouts next. In a skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add in the sprouts. Sprinkle in the salt and red pepper flakes and cook until they are lightly browned and tender. It only took about ten minutes for us. Watch the heat, because although you want them browned, you don’t want to burn them. But definitely make sure they get tender.

You can start the next step while you’re cooking the Brussels sprouts if you are able to multitask. If not, no worries. Some of us like to be methodical and there’s nothing wrong with that! In your Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and add your shallots. Saute for about 3 minutes over medium heat before adding the garlic and cooking that for another minute. Next, stir in the farro and toast for 3 minutes, making sure it gets coated in olive oil and doesn’t burn.

Turn the heat to low before deglazing the pan with your white wine, scraping up any brown bits. Once the wine is completely absorbed, pour in one cup of the warm chicken stock. Keep it simmering and stir occasionally until the farro almost completely absorbs the liquid. This took some time, much longer than it usually takes when we make risotto. But it eventually happened, so have faith and be patient! Continue this process, adding a half-cup of stock at a time until you’ve added it all and the farro is al dente. It has more tooth than a risotto, which I like, but if you want it to be softer, you could try adding more broth (I think: I confess this is just a theory).

Once all the stock is absorbed, add in the Brussels sprouts and most of the prosciutto (if you are saving some for serving). Stir until the sprouts are heated through and then stir in the lemon zest and Parmesan. You shouldn’t need more salt but taste it and add pepper if you want and then serve! I hope you like it as much as we did, and redeem those wonderful Brussels sprouts.

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