Farro is one of those grains that is slowly creeping into the restaurant scene. Farro is also underused and often misused. This ancient grain can be used in a multitude of ways and makes a delicious side dish to almost any meal.
I’m going to be totally honest…I headed to the pantry at work looking for arborio rice to make a classic risotto. Turns out I was out of arborio rice and had remembered I bought farro just the other day. I had almost forgotten about this nutty grain entirely!
Turning farro into a risotto is one of my favorite ways to use this delicious morsel. Here’s what I did:
2 cups farro
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups butternut squash, diced & roasted (this is about 1 squash)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.) In a large rondeau or pot, saute the onion, garlic & thyme until the onions just start to get some color on them. (about 5 minutes on medium) Add in the farro and continue sauté until the grain start to smell nutty and fragrant.
2.) Deglaze the pot with white wine. Once the alcohol is cooked out of the wine, while stirring, add in about a cup of the chicken stock at a time. Make sure after each addition the previous amount of stock has been absorbed by the farro. You will start to notice after a few additions of stock and stirring the creaminess the starch from the grain gives off. This is what you want!
3.) Once all the stock is added into the farro; bring the roasted squash, mascarpone, spices & parmesan into pot party! Once these ingredients are mixed in the risotto becomes creamy and rich. Garnish the risotto with the pomegranate seeds. These add a nice textural contrast to the creamy risotto and a touch of acidity and sweetness!
Trick Alert: I bought my pomegranate seeds already out of the fruit. (I’m lazy…but also the quantity needed would have taken me weeks to get out! For this recipe you will only need about 1 or 2 pomegranates) Sorry for the rant…back to the trick. Cut the fruit in half and over a bowl of cold water with the fruit seed side down, smack the back of the fruit with a spoon until the seeds fall into the water. The seeds will sink and the light flesh will float making for a much easier experience!