What do you do when you want risotto but don’t have any rice? You use farro.
Farro is an ancient Italian wheat strain dating back to the Roman empire, possibly earlier. You cook it very much like rice. It has a chewy, nutty texture that works really well in hearty winter dishes like risotto.
Making risotto, or in this case farrotto, is pretty simple. The key is not to rush the cooking process. Let it take its time. You want to develop the starches that make the dish so darn creamy and delicious. My recommendation: The recipe calls for a little wine; so go ahead pour yourself a nice glass of said wine and the time will pass before you know it.
|Photo by Renato Ghio
- 5 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup pearled farro
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup, shredded manchego
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash pieces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Gently heat 4 cups of vegetable broth in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or pot heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the farro and toss to coat. Toast the farro for about 3-4 minutes, occasionally mixing it around the pan. When the farro becomes fragrant and starts to sizzle remove from the heat and set aside in a bowl.
- Place the pot back on the heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and saute until translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute until it becomes lightly golden.
- Put the toasted farro back into the pan and pour in the white wine and reduce until nearly all the wine is gone.
- Begin adding the broth to the farro mixture one cup at a time. Stir and let simmer until all the liquid is absorbed before adding in the next cup of broth.
- With the last cup of broth stir in a teaspoon of dried sage along with the roasted squash. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the final cup of broth is fully absorbed, stir in the shredded manchego and toasted hazelnuts.
- Serve immediately.
- You can make this recipe with regular farro/semi-pearled farro just note that the cooking time will be longer.