Farro With Mushrooms
With its chewy texture and lack of starch release during cooking, Farro offers a departure from traditional Italian rice, eliminating the need for constant stirring, as with a risotto.This hearty dish has a rich, earthy flavor that stands out. While it takes approximately twice the time to cook compared to risotto, it demands different attention.
- ½ ounce ½ cup, approximately dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 quart chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 ½ cups farro
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms or wild mushrooms or a mixture of the two, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
- Salt to taste
- 2 large garlic cloves green shoots removed, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese grated (¼ to ½ cup)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Start by placing the farro in a bowl and covering it with about an inch of hot water. Let it soak while you get the rest of the ingredients ready. After soaking, drain the farro.
- Add the dried mushrooms to a large Pyrex measuring cup or bowl, then pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Allow them to sit for 30 minutes.
- After soaking:
- Drain the reconstituted mushrooms through a strainer over a bowl lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel.
- Squeeze out excess liquid from the mushrooms over the strainer and rinse them thoroughly in several water changes to eliminate any grit.
- Coarsely chop them if the pieces are large, and set them aside.
- Combine the mushroom broth with the stock to achieve 6 cups (add water if necessary).
- Pour this mixture into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
- Season with salt to your liking.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it starts to soften, which should take about three minutes. Next, introduce the fresh mushrooms, cooking while stirring until they soften and release moisture. Season with salt to your liking, then add the garlic and rosemary. Keep cooking, stirring regularly until the mushrooms reach a tender consistency, approximately five minutes. Add the drained farro and the reconstituted dried mushrooms to the skillet. Continue cooking and stirring until the farro grains are separated and start to make a crackling sound, about two minutes. Pour in the wine, stirring until absorbed into the mixture. Add all the stock except for about 1 cup, and bring it to a simmer. Cover the skillet and let it simmer for 50 minutes or until the farro becomes tender. Some of the grains should start to splay open. Occasionally, stir vigorously with the lid off. Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning as needed. Some liquid should remain in the pot, but not too much. If the farro is submerged in stock, raise the heat and cook until enough liquid is left to moisten the grains, creating a sauce-like consistency. If there's not enough liquid, stir in the remaining stock. If you're not serving it right away, cover and let it stand. Just before serving, return it to a simmer, add the Parmesan, parsley, and pepper, stirring to combine. Please remove it from the heat and serve.
You can prepare this dish several hours or even a day ahead and reheat it later. Just reheat a bit of stock to the mixture over medium heat. Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at martha-rose-shulman.com.