Have you ever eaten farro before? If not you’re missing out on a great whole grain. It has a flavour reminiscent of barley and maybe hazelnuts. It has a great chewy texture which lends itself great to risottos or grain salads. It was a primary source of calories for the Roman armies. If it did not produce such low yields we would certainly be eating much more of it. It went out of fashion long ago in favor of grains that produced much higher yields for the farmer. Thankfully this grain is having a resurgence in popularity recently. Look for it in health food stores or good quality Italian markets.
We are going to make a risotto of farro with spring vegetables and pancetta. For good measure, and to make it a little meatier without extra meat, we are going to sautee some King mushrooms for a tasty and filling garnish.
Most of the farro you are going to find is sold as pearlatto or semi pearlatto. Meaning that a portion of the bran has been removed. Making it easier to cook. Always soak your farro for about a 1/2 hour before cooking. In doing this you can rinse the farro as well as remove any unwanted bits and bad grains.
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1/2 cup diced shallot (you can substitute red onion)
1/2 oz diced pancetta (I prefer cubes but you can buy sliced pancetta and dice that)
1 cup farro
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp lemon zest
12 oz blanched asparagus cut into 1″ pieces
12 oz shelled fava beans
1/3 cup finely chopped herbs (Itlian flat parsley and thyme are great)
Olive oil to drizzle over the bowls.
Start by crisping the pancetta in pot large enough to make the rissotto.
Remove from pot and drain fat leaving 1 tbsp. Add onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook till softened. Add the farro, stirring to coat all the grains. Add broth and wine and cook over med low heat stirring from time to time for about 25 minutes. You are looking for grains that are still a little chewy and the liquid should be mostly absorbed. Add asparagus and fava beans and crisped pancetta and heat them through. Add herbs and divide among bowls.
For the king mushrooms.
Slice 4 large king mushrooms from top to stem. You should be able to get 3 slices of each.
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a pan large enough to hold all the mushrooms. Sautee mushrooms till golden and season with salt and pepper.
At this point you can put these on top of your bowl of farro. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve. You are sure to love this dish as much as me. And it’s full of all kinds of good for you nutrients. Enjoy it after your next training run for Race Weekend.
Good luck to everyone racing next week.
What are you making this week to get you ready for Race weekend? Or do you have a favorite pre/post race meal. Leave your suggestions for all to see in the comments section. I will be giving an iRun hat to one lucky person. There will be no rhyme or reason to my choice. Just the most yummy sounding recipe.
Good luck and good running.