Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Farratto" Ancient Roman Grains with BCT Toppings

Farro the grain of ancient Rome, the wheat of the Caesars. It been around and used in Italy forever. It's delicious and earthy and hearty and very tasty. And it can be prepared a variety of ways. I mean you can just boil it and then mix in whatever you would like. And there is a very popular recipe move happening in the food media in the last 5 years that uses Farro in the place of rice in making risotto. And why not it's delicious. Farrotto the non rice risotto.

Here I've taken a recipe from Nigella Lawson for mushroom farrotto and added a topping of fresh tomato, Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts as well as browned mushrooms and bacon. This recipe was inspired by a photo and post made by a chef I know from Facebook. So here is my wintry dish with a bit of fresh that makes this dish a great year round food you can make for your family and friends.

Here it is:

Vegetable Farrotto
  • 1/2 cup dried porcini
  • 1/2 cup recently boiled water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large leek (washed and trimmed), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 3/4 cups pearled farro (perlato)
  • 1/4 cup Marsala
  • 5 cups broth, vegetable, chicken, or porcini
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms
  • sliced leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups red and yellow grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup blanched small cauliflower florets also halved
  • 4 brussels sprouts blanched and sliced thin
  • 1 pint mushrooms sliced and browned fat drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped crisped browned bacon and cooled fat drained.  
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, to serve


1. Cover the dried porcini with 1/2 cup of recently boiled water, then fill the kettle and put it on the heat again if you are making up the broth with concentrate, cube, or powder. In a wide, heavy saucepan (that comes with a lid) add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the fine jade tangle of leek, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the leeks are softened.
2. Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid, then chop them and add them to the pan. Stir well, then add the farro and turn it gently but thoroughly in the pan. Tip in the Marsala and porcini-soaking water and let it bubble up.
3. Make up the broth as wished and add this to the farro pan, stir, bring to a boil, and then clamp on a lid, turn down the heat, and let it cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, until the farro is cooked and all the liquid absorbed.
4. Mix all your vegetables for your toppings except for the cooked mushrooms and bacon then right before serving mix quickly and then season with a bit of salt

5. While the farro is cooking, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium-sized frying pan and cook the sliced crimini mushrooms for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften (they will first seem alarmingly dry) at which point add the thyme, grate in (or mince and add) the garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are juicy and soft. Remove from the heat if there is still time on the clock for the farro. Once the farro is cooked, take it off the heat, too, and add the cooked mushrooms. Stir in the ricotta and Parmesan (they will melt in the heat of the farro) until the farro is creamy, then top with the vegetable topping and then sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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