Oh Great Farro

1 Jan

After all the excesses of the holidays are over, and I do hope they’re over, I always feel the need to atone for my culinary “sins” by eating lots of greens and whole grains.

The Christmas Strawberry

Not that we don’t eat a lot of these things already, but, one day during that week between Christmas and New Year, my brain gets locked into a loop of recipes featuring lacinato kale, broccoli rabe, whole wheat pastas and yes, farro.

New Year's Eve Prospect Park Fireworks

There’s a classy Italian joint here in the Lower East Side called ‘inoteca that the boy and I like to eat brunch at whenever we can. I always end up ordering the same panini there because I can never recall its name, their menu is unnecessarily complicated (you know the type, all in Italian, terse descriptions) and my memory’s a little shoddy (I think I usually get the prosciutto cotto, pepper agro dolce & grana, but to be honest, I’d have to taste it to be sure).

On the other hand, the boy always gets the same dish because he loves it; Warm Farro & Roasted Fruits, a kind of morning gruel made with a little whole milk and topped with caramelized fruits. It’s a perfect dish; warm, comforting, creamy and hearty, that sits comfortably at the intersection of oatmeal and risotto.

It was this breakfast dish, but a savory version, I was trying to emulate last week when my need for an atonement diet hit. I started with garlic and celery for sweetness and flavor and topped it with a bracingly bitter mixture of broccoli rabe and blood oranges. Every note of the dish was pitch perfect, the farro was creamy and sweet, the topping pleasantly bitter and spicy.

Night Farro with Broccoli Rabe

But, when on a roll, why stop with dinner? A few days later we decided to try and actually recreate ‘inoteca’s fruity farro. This time I started with my favorite Golden Berry Mix from Trader Joe’s and topped it all with another blood orange, banana slices and a handful of blueberries. It was really delicious, but I maintain it paled in comparison to the original (the boy maintains I’m crazy).

Day Farro with Fruit

Of the two, I’m most proud of the savory version. Perhaps I’ll just stick to making up my own variations of other people’s dishes, rather than trying to copy them note for note.

Head below the jump for the recipes for Night Farro & Day Farro

Night Farro

prep time: 10 minutes ~ cooking time: 30-45 minutes

For the Farro.

  • 3 or 4 cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
  • a few ribs of Celery roughly chopped (to make about 3/4 c.)
  • 4 handfuls or about 1 cup Farro
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of low-sodium, fat-free Chicken Stock
  • Water
  • Milk
  • a nice hard Cheese, like Romano, Pecorino or Parmesan

For the Rabe.

  • 2 bunches Broccoli Rabe, washed but not thoroughly dried and tough stems trimmed
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic, minced or sliced
  • 1 medium Red Chili, sliced into thin rings
  • Vermouth
  • Salt
  • 1 Blood Orange, peeled and cut into “supremes

In a sauce pan over medium heat begin the farro by sweating the celery and garlic. When the mixture is fragrant add the farro and the stock. Mix to combine and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer gently, stirring frequently and adding water as necessary until the farro is tender, yet toothsome, and still a bit liquidy (this process is much like making risotto).

Add a glug of milk (about 1/3 cup) and heat gently. Try not to let it boil. The farro should have the consistency of a fairly loose risotto.

While the farro is cooking place a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil and sweat the garlic. Add the rabe and the chili. Allow to cook about 3 minutes. Add a healthy glug of vermouth and the blood orange supremes and salt to taste. Lower heat to low and cover. Allow to cook about 15 minutes or until tender

To serve: Place the farro in a bowl, top with the rabe and shave some hard cheese on top. A glug of fruity extra virgin olive oil might be nice too. Enjoy!

Day Farro

prep time: 5 minutes ~ cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 4 handfuls or about 1 cup Farro
  • Hot water
  • 1/2 cup Dried Fruit (I used the Golden Berry Blend from Trader Joe’s which includes dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries and golden raisins, but just about anything including apricots or prunes chopped into pieces would be lovely here)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. Milk
  • 1 Blood Orange, peeled and cut into “supremes
  • 1 banana cut into rounds
  • Blueberries

In an electric kettle or stove top kettle heat a few cups of water.

Add the farro and fruit to a sauce pan, cover with warm water and set to boil over a medium flame. Allow to simmer gently, stirring frequently and adding water as necessary until the farro is tender, yet toothsome, and still a bit liquidy (this process is much like making risotto). Add a bit of salt to taste.

Add milk to taste and heat gently. Try not to let it boil. The farro should have the consistency of a fairly loose risotto.

To serve: Spoon the farro into bowls and top with the raw fruit. Dig in and have a great day!

11 Responses to “Oh Great Farro”

  1. Luisa January 2, 2007 at 6:37 am #

    Happy New Year! I’m with you on the healthy eating after the holidays… You find you can’t help yourself! Farro is so delicious and too often sort of ignored, sadly. These recipes look great.

  2. Anne January 2, 2007 at 12:06 pm #

    I’m on the same food wavelength as you! I’m on a huge greens kick myself…kale, chard, spinach…and millet is my farro. I’m actually craving good food over junk. Weird but good!

  3. sher January 2, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    happy New Year. I can’t eat those yet, but I’m getting better because they look delicious. And beautiful photos, as always. Here’s to healthy and fabulous recipes like these for 2007!!!

  4. ann January 2, 2007 at 9:00 pm #

    Luisa — I bet you’ve got some great recipes from your family in Italy for farro… feel free to share anytime! We’re hooked!!

    Anne — Millet? I’ll have to check it out… (isn’t that a main constituent of birdseed?) I just read up on Kamut and Amaranth, those are my next two to explore. Have you tried either of them yet?

    Sher — I’m really glad you’re feeling better… what a bummer to be sick on New Year’s. And back at ya, more wonderful recipes to come I hope! I still need to make your chicken bouillbase with the saffron my mom brought me from Spain.

  5. s'kat January 3, 2007 at 8:10 am #

    I’m with you: LOVE the greens! Unfortch, I am the only one in the house who eats it. I’ve never had farro before, but you have me contemplating the possibilities…

  6. Julie January 3, 2007 at 6:41 pm #

    Another one here who’s ready for greens and whole grains. Bring it on. I know I like rapini and I have a feeling I’d like farro as well. (And interesting how universal that craving for greens seems to be.)

  7. hungrygirl January 3, 2007 at 10:23 pm #

    OK, two things. One, I love recipes with blood orange, soon to come into season up here in Canada, so this will motivate me to try night time farro. Secondly, referring to your previous post, it’s my turn to be jealous: borscht with vushka???!!! Availabe for takeout? Crazy!…Good writing, good photos…

  8. ann January 4, 2007 at 9:34 am #

    s’kat — with your newfound love of all things Italian, jump right into the farro fray. Basically any risotto or pasta you’d like to make can also be made with farro. Oh, and it’s delish in salads and pilafs!

    Julie — It has to be some need for cleansing. I’m holding myself to the “S” diet at work. Only salad, sandwich, sushi or soup for lunch (and only clear soups). Let’s see how long I can last on that ;-)

    Hungrygirl — They grow blood oranges in Canada? I kid! I kid! But seriously, I love them too! And you talking about being jealous of take out clear borscht… Well I’m jealous that you can get some of your friends to make it and bring it over to your house! That RULES!! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner!

  9. Anne January 4, 2007 at 11:59 am #

    My father-in-law made millet for us when we last visited. It looks/tastes like a starchier (!) cous-cous. I think it’s a popular African grain and yes, it’s often in birdseed. I boiled it up in some chicken stock and it was darn good.

    Kamut and Amaranth? Sounds interesting. Looking forward to hearing about them.

  10. Virginia January 4, 2007 at 1:24 pm #

    I am printing this post out as we speak to give to my brother-in-law. He carries farro at his Italian food store (Mia Famiglia in Millburn, NJ), and people are always asking him what to do with it. Now they have an answer.

  11. Jean McCarroll February 24, 2007 at 7:26 pm #

    There is a recipe for Inoteca’s Warm Farro with Roasted Fruit in this months Gourmet Magazine.

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