Some of you may remember my admission that I'm obsessed with farro -- 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. —Merrill Stubbs
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.
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.