Farro Risotto

By Merrill Stubbs
January 25, 2011
30 Comments


Author Notes: 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

Serves: 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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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Reviews (30) Questions (2)

30 Comments

Sasha A. December 7, 2017
I've made this twice now, it's fantastic. I love that there's no risk of undercooked farro - just cook until done in the broth and then finish with the rest of the ingredients. I use un-pearled farro and cook for about an hour.
 
Maggyb74 August 24, 2017
I'm wondering if this would hold up to freezing well, or if it would completely lose its consistency? Has anyone tried it? (I'm making several freezer meals for a sick friend.)
 
AntoniaJames August 22, 2012
We love, love, love this risotto! I've made it several times, and am certain I'll be making it many more, in the future. Last night I was serving a roast chicken, but I'd put a handful of bacon carnitas in the pan to roast with it, along with some marinated artichoke hearts and fresh herbs, onions, etc., and decided at the last minute that the cheese would be just too much. So I took a right turn, and instead, stirred in finely chopped just-picked marjoram and Italian parsley (a heaping teaspoon of each). It turned out perfectly. Your method leaves the farro with just the right amount of "bite." As I said, we love it! ;o)
 
AntoniaJames August 22, 2012
We love, love, love this risotto! I've made it several times, and am certain I'll be making it many more, in the future. Last night I was serving a roast chicken, but I'd put a handful of bacon carnitas in the pan to roast with it, along with some marinated artichoke hearts and fresh herbs, onions, etc., and decided at the last minute that the cheese would be just too much. So I took a right turn, and instead, stirred in finely chopped just-picked marjoram and Italian parsley (a heaping teaspoon of each). It turned out perfectly. Your method leaves the farro with just the right amount of "bite." As I said, we love it! ;o)
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. August 22, 2012
Thanks so much, AntoniaJames. SGlad you're enjoying this as a jumping off point for your own creations!
 
patricellen May 2, 2012
Julieah had a good question about farro that I don't think got answered... there are 3 kinds of farro.. pearled, semi-pearled and traditional. They each require different soaking times (or no soaking). Which kind did you use for this recipe?
 
SpaCook May 14, 2012
It's been my experience that recipes tend to call for pearled unless otherwise indicated. That said, these are the instructions associated with pearled, so that's probably the safest bet here!
 
SpaCook May 14, 2012
It's been my experience that recipes tend to call for pearled unless otherwise indicated. That said, these are the instructions associated with pearled, so that's probably the safest bet here!
 
Can I. April 29, 2012
Made this tonight and it was so, so good. I'll definitely be making it again.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. April 29, 2012
So glad you liked it!
 
Demington April 14, 2012
I love farro, too. I am going to try this recipe. I do think the title is a misnomer. It doesn't cook like risotto so why pretend? Farro with chicken stock and Parmesan sounds delicious to me.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. April 29, 2012
It may not cook like risotto, but the finished product definitely resembles it!
 
DeArmasA February 1, 2012
YUM! I had no white wine, so a changed the chicken stock to beef stock, and used red wine, and it was delicious!
 
ktchnninja December 28, 2011
yum! made this w/ pearl barley instead of farro... it was the perfect side for your short ribs w/ beer & honey!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. December 28, 2011
Great idea! I'll have to try that.
 
MariaM November 12, 2011
I love this recipe and use it all the time. I'm going to use this to make arancini (stuffed rice balls). Here's hoping it's a hit! Thanks Food 52 for this wonderful resource of fabulous recipes. Best discovery I made in 2011.
 
DebJ October 28, 2011
I had farro for the first time last night at Urban Solace restaurant in San Diego. It was delicious. Their's was a similar recipe with vegetables - here's how they list it on their menu: "Farro Saute: Creamy Farro, Veggies, Smoked Tomatoes, Grated Parm." I had some chicken added to it. Great flavor, nuttiness, chewiness - true comfort food. I'm glad I looked here for a recipe. Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. October 28, 2011
You're very welcome. And welcome to the wonderful world of farro!
 
HandRocksLadle April 4, 2011
Made this last night and I agree with everyone else -- delicious! {And a healthier option than risotto}
 
hardlikearmour March 1, 2011
Made this tonight for dinner, but threw the meat from a baked carnival squash in. That made it look more like porridge than risotto, but love the taste. Thanks, M!
 
thirschfeld February 26, 2011
making this again because it is just so damn good.
 
wssmom March 1, 2011
My sentiments EXACTLY thirschfield ... the farro is soaking even as I type ....
 
julieah February 7, 2011
our package--called "Italian Pearled Farro" made by Montebello--says to soak in cold water for 8 hours...is this really necessary?
 
thirschfeld January 27, 2011
I have been making lots of farro and finally ordered some of the piccolo farro from Anson Mills. I have never seen farro like this. It looked more like Lundberg farms short grain brown rice. It was very tiny in comparison to other farrro. I made this recipe and it was so ridiculously good, seriously, ridiculously good.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
So glad you liked it, and will have to check out the piccolo farro.
 
lindachoi January 26, 2011
This was terrific. I made it last week - right to the recipe. This week I roasted a cauliflower and added that right after the farro. Yum.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Great idea! Will have to try that.
 
healthierkitchen March 3, 2011
I topped mine with roasted brussels sprouts! Yum!
 
dymnyno January 25, 2011
I too, have become obsessed with farro and cook it at least once a week. Sound like my kind of recipe.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Thanks!