Farro is one of the oldest grains that we know about and some people even believe that all other grains are derived from it. It's very high in protein, B complex vitamins and is relatively low in gluten, so if you suffer from a gluten sensitivity, farro may be slightly more tolerable than barley or other grains. However, this does still have gluten, so if you have celiac or sprue, then you should stay away from this.
You're likely to find this on the menu in Mediterranean, Ethiopian or Middle Eastern Restaurants. It's very popular in Italy and rising popularity in the United States where I live.
This is a whole grain, similar looking to wheat berries and when I use it, I use it in a similar fashion that I would use beans or lentils or quinoa. Being a whole, unprocessed grain, it's not going to give you the blood sugar spike of pasta and this grain is actually pretty good for you and can provide a complete protein source for you when paired with vegetables, which is what I always do with them. I've used these in my superfood salad bowls as a base with the toppings being avocado, smoked trout, tomatoes, greens and mushrooms.
Whole grain farro takes the longest to cook and sometimes requires overnight soaking. Semi-Pearled has had part of the bran removed but still has some fiber and pearled which has no bran at all. It's kind of like rolled oats vs whole oats. I find that using semi-pearled is perfect for this dish if you're in a hurry, but it's not going to cook so quickly that it's going to get mushy and it's still going to provide fiber.
This recipe is inspired partly by a recipe I used from Smitten Kitchen and a recipe I used from Martha Stewart. I kind of was inspired by risotto and came up with my own.
Serves: 2-4 as a main
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup semi-pearled farro
1 large shallot minced or sliced
4 - 6 cloves garlic minced
10 ounces tomatoes
3 - 4 Portobello Mushroom Caps sliced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
(optional) red pepper flakes (1/4 tsp)
2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
Basil Cut into Ribbons
Parmesan Cheese for Garnish
Pour the stock and the farro together in a pot and let them sit while you prepare the ingredients without the heat.
Slice or chop the shallot (your choice), slice the tomatoes into bite sized pieces, mince the garlic, and slice the portobello mushroom caps. Reserve half the garlic for sautéing with the mushrooms and half for the farro.
Begin to heat the pot with the farro and stock and add the tomatoes, shallot and garlic, salt & pepper and bring to boil. Then turn down the heat to a simmer and let simmer for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
While the farro is cooking, add olive oil to a sauté pan and add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until soft with care not to let the garlic get too brown. Set aside.
Slice basil into ribbons. Add half to the farro 10 minutes before serving and reserve half for garnishing.
Serve in a bowl or a plate with the mushrooms on top and garnish with cheese! This is so yummy and simple and keeps well for leftovers! Bon Appetit!!!