i have a new favorite food: farro risotto. have you tried it yet? farro is one of those foods just now entering our group consciousness, recently becoming a favorite of chefs for it's ease of use and high nutrition content when compared to other grains. it is not new to italians, who have been using it for centuries, though it fell out of favor for a while. it has been available in health food stores for quite some time but is now, happily, gaining wider popularity. you can read more about farro here.
farro risotto, of course, is not really "risotto" but an adaptation. i am here to tell you, it is just as delicious, if not more so. farro has a wonderfully chewy texture that makes a great dish with creamy cheese and delicately crunchy vegetables as delicious counterpoints to all that comforting creaminess and chewiness. high in protein, vitamins and fibre, and completely delicious. farro, you are amazing.
farro risotto with zucchini, snap peas, and leek
2 cups farro
3 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
2 TBSP organic extra virgin olive oil, plus more to saute green vegetables
1 cup snap peas, de-stringed
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 leek, sliced and finely chopped
1 quart plus 2 cups organic chicken stock
1/3 cup marscapone cheese
1/4 cup parmegiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated, to serve
salt and pepper to taste
first, soak the farro in three cups of water for 15 minutes. meanwhile, chop the onion, zucchini, and leek and de-string the snap peas.
in a large open saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil. cook over moderate heat for 4 minutes, until softened. drain the farro and add to the onions. stir and cook for 2 minutes until combined. start to add in the stock, a cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed. i find with farro, it doesn't absorb much for 15 minutes or so, and then becomes quite "thirsty" for stock, as it does, it becomes quite creamy, then you know you are getting close. taste to test for doneness.
set a medium pan of salted boiling water on the stove. blanch the snap peas for 3 minutes until tender yet still crisp. drain and reserve. discard all but half a cup of the water. add in a tablespoon of olive oil and bring to a boil, add in the zucchini and cook for 4 minutes until softened but still bright green and not at all soggy. drain and reserve. now saute the chopped leek in a little olive oil until tender, 2 -3 minutes.
when the farro becomes creamy and tender, swirl in the 1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese, add the cooked leeks, zucchini, and snap peas. season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with the freshly grated parmigiano.
so creamy and delicious, you won't believe it. kids and adults all asked for seconds at our house.
i first tasted something like this at northern spy, a great little place in the east village, i really recommend for local sustainable deliciousness.