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Farro Risotto

January 18, 2011


Farro Risotto

- Merrill

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Some of you may remember my admission that I'm obsessed with farro from this post last year -- but the truth is, I hadn’t had much experience cooking it until just a few years ago. I was catering a large dinner party as part of a charity event, and I needed an unusual starch that would hold well to go with the Cornish game hen I was making for the main course. Enter, farro risotto.

What’s great about this is that you don’t have to give up 30 minutes of your day standing over the stove, stirring like a mad person. (Although, some might argue that regular risotto doesn’t require that either.) You cook the grain ahead of time in stock, and then simply fold it into some softened onion that’s been hit with a splash or two of wine, add some Parmesan, and there’s your “risotto.” Best of all, it will hold and reheat the way a true risotto never will. 

We ate this with my short ribs from last week and all agreed it was a nice combo.

(Note: I'll be away on my honeymoon this week and next, so don't be surprised if you don't see me in the comments section!) 

Farro Risotto

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1 cup farro
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Soak the farro in cold water to cover for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and combine with the chicken stock in a medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat so the farro is bubbling gently; cook until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the farro over a bowl so that you can reserve what's left of the cooking liquid, and set both aside in a warm place.

 2. Rinse the saucepan and add the butter and olive oil, setting it over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and a generously pinch of salt, and cook gently until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine, turn up the heat a little, and simmer until the wine is reduced by about two-thirds, another 5 minutes or so. Add the farro and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Fold in the Parmesan, adding enough of the reserved chicken stock to get a slightly creamy consistency. Fold in more Parmesan and/or salt if necessary, and several grinds of black pepper. Serve immediately, or cover and reheat gently before serving, adding more liquid as necessary.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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blanka.n November 30, 2012
I love the concept and if I can dig some up in the pantry - not sure I ever bought it - but now I will!
A C. January 24, 2011
I had my first farro risotto on a Food Tour of Greenwich Village in NYC. It was fantastic. I really appreciate this recipe as I tried it when I got home and it was just not the same. I am trying this!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Let me know it was!
mollysmenu January 20, 2011
Farro risotto is especially good with roasted mushrooms and truffle oil. They compliment the nuttyness of the grain tremendously.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Great suggestion.
mcs3000 January 19, 2011
Another great recipe. Have a wonderful honeymoon, Merrill!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Thank you! It was wonderful indeed.
amp156 January 19, 2011
Love farro and looking forward to trying the recipe. For the first time, I used farro to make a risotto the regular way this weekend and it turned out great. Cooked with mushroom stock and folded in a bunch of sauteed shitake, cremini, and oyster shrooms. The farro adds a nice toothsome and nutty quality. Only problem was it was MORE work than a regualr risotto as it took over twice as long.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
That's why I started off doing it this way -- I'll admit I don't have the patience for all that stirring!
cookingwithfire January 19, 2011
Dear Merrill,
I hope you had a wonderful honeymoon!! I adore Food 52, you and Amanda are wonderful, the light in so many people's days. I love the idea of farro, I love the taste, I live however in Philadelphia and it is very difficult to find. Whole Foods has small vacumpacked quantities but other than that non c'e'!! Can I order it online?
Love, Disgruntled in Philadelphia
hardlikearmour January 19, 2011
mtrelaun January 19, 2011
Dear Disgruntled in Philadelphia,
In addition to Farro Piccolo from Anson Mills (http://bit.ly/ftdzQe), the food52 shop also features Farro Pearls from Le Sanctuaire (http://bit.ly/ee4YgE).
onetribegourmet January 19, 2011
Also try DiBrunos on 18th & Chestnuts Sts. in Philly!
DanielB January 23, 2011
I recently bought my first bag of farro -- a 3# bag of organic farro from Costco, of all places.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Thanks so much, cookingwithfire! And thanks to everyone who helped out with the links/sourcing while I was away!
tomby January 18, 2011
Nice recipe. I wonder if this would work with spelt. Spelt seems very close to farro in how you treat it.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
I think probably so. And barley would be good too.
Blissful B. January 18, 2011
Oooooh....an easy risotto! I'm sold.
onetribegourmet January 18, 2011
Thank you for the recipe idea! Looks great! I recently became obsessed with Farro and bought it from Chelsea Market Buon Italia. I'm going to try your recipe today..very comforting...especially a day like today..when we have so much ice & snow outside... :(
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
You're welcome! Hope you liked it.
hardlikearmour January 18, 2011
This looks great, Merrill! My sister had a farro risotto at a restaurant recently that had winter squash and wild mushrooms in it. I've been thinking about farro risotto ever since. Have fun on your honeymoon!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Yum. And thanks!
drbabs January 18, 2011
LOVE farro--thanks for another great dish, and have a wonderful honeymoon!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Thank you! It was lovely.