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Farro with Vegetables

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Recipe

A grain-based antipasto makes all kinds of sense to me, and a little plate is a great way to introduce people to farro, which might be unfamiliar. The grain absorbs the stock much like rice does in risotto, and becomes nice and creamy—the ideal foundation for the sauteed vegetables I love to make this with summer vegetables, but you could use other veggies, depending on the season.

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

Farro:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup finely diced onions
  • 1 cup uncooked whole-grain farro (see Note)
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetables:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon slivered garlic
  • 12 pearl onions, blanched
  • ½ cup diced fennel
  • ½ cup sliced slender green beans (also called French beans)
  • 1/3 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow squash
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (about 1 ear)
  • 16 red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
  • ¼ cup julienned fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

1. To prepare the farro: Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan and cook the onions for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened but not colored. Add the farro and stir until lightly toasted and evenly coated with butter and onions.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat the stock over medium-high heat until simmering. Adjust the heat to keep it at a low simmer.

3. Reduce the heat under the farro to medium and in three additions (similar to cooking risotto), slowly stir the stock into the farro until it absorbs the liquid and is cooked through. This will take 35 to 40 minutes. Reserve any stock you don’t need. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

4. To prepare the vegetables: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the onions, fennel, beans, zucchini, squash, and corn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions soften. Add the tomatoes, olives, and basil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Stir the vegetables into the farro. Set the saucepan over medium heat and add the grated cheese, butter, and vinegar. Stir gently and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more stock if needed to produce a creamy, risotto-like consistency.

6. Divide the farro among 4 plates or small individual copper pots or other small bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parsley and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Notes

Farro is spelt. But what, you ask, is spelt? One and the same, farro/spelt is a small, light brown grain that not only fed the Roman army but sustained much of the ancient world. From this humble crop, other higher-yielding grains developed, and ancient farro fell out of favor. Happily, it’s back’ Farro is highly nutritious with a hearty, nutty flavor that has made it the darling of both modern-day chefs and health food aficionados. You can buy it in natural food stores as well as some supermarkets. I look for imported Italian farro, although any farro, or spelt, will work here.


© 2007 Rick Tramonto
 

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving

1055kcal (53%)
411mg (41%)
40mg (67%)
295mcg RAE (10%)
1179mg
139mg
24g
20g
11g
84g
60mg (20%)
2904mg (121%)
21g (106%)
75g (116%)
5mg (30%)
 

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