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Farro, where have you been all my life?

July 4, 2008

After recently encountering farro at some our favorite local restaurants like AOC, we decided we had to try and make it at home. As it turns out our new favorite nutty grain, Triticum dicoccon, or Emmer wheat has been around since at least 17000 BC. Similar to wheat berries, pearled barley, and spelt, it cooks like rice into plump, chewy kernels. Farro is a staple in Italy and can be found in Italian specialty stores. I picked up a one pound bag of Tenuta Castello farro at Cube Artisan Foods in Los Angeles.

So what do you do with it? Treat it like a risotto — adding herbs, veggies, meats, nuts, dried berries, oil, vinegar… A side dish or the main event, I decided to make my first farro improv with earthy mushrooms, creamy leeks and fresh thyme and served it alongside some roasted green haricot verts.


Farro Improv # 1

1 ½ cups of faro, picked over for stones and impurities and rinsed.

2 cups of shitake mushrooms, diced

Two leeks, trimmed and diced (just the white part)

Three garlic gloves, minced

2- 3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt, fresh ground pepper

A handful of fresh thyme, chopped

A spring of rosemary, chopped

Handful of toasted pine nuts

4 cups water or vegetable stock

Bring 4 cups of water or vegetable stock to a boil and add the farro. Simmer 20-25 minutes or until tender (note — some varieties may take up to sixty minutes to cook). In the meantime, in a separate pan, sauté the leeks until translucent, cook down the mushrooms, and then fry up the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix in chopped herbs. When the farro is tender, mix in the vegetables and spices and add an light olive oil drizzle to finish and coat the mixture.

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