If you're not super familiar with farro-- which I wasn't until very recently-- it's an ancient grain used frequently in Italian cooking. It resembles brown rice and when cooked, it has a great nutty flavor and chewy texture. It can be boiled and served like rice or pasta or prepared risotto-style-- slow cooked while stirring in broth to create a rich and creamy texture. And that was exactly what I did here.
For a recent girls' night, I decided to make a healthier post-holiday meal since we were all feeling a bit sluggish. I decided we'd go vegetarian for the night and this mushroom & leek farrotto was the perfect entree for filling us up without any meat. The mushrooms in this dish pair so nicely with farro because they both have that earthy umami quality about them. I also added leeks here because I like that they have a fragrant onion-y flavor, but they hold their texture through the cooking process a bit longer than onions or shallots. A little fresh thyme and grated Parmesan pulls this delicious meatless meal together.
This is a fabulous meatless entree, but it would also be a perfect savory side dish for chicken or pork too.
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbs. butter, divided
- 1 Tbs. olive oil, divided
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 3/4 cup white wine, divided
- 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced into 1/2-inch rings (only the white and light green parts. Discard the tough dark green tops)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 cup pearled farro
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium saucepan, bring broth just to a simmer. Cover and keep hot over medium low heat until you are ready to use it.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 Tbs. each butter and oil. Add mushrooms and thyme to the pan along with 1/4 cup of wine and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the mushrooms have softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add 1/2 cup of broth and stir constantly until the broth has almost completely absorbed, for 2-3 minutes. Continue stirring the farro and repeat the process of adding 1/2 cup broth at a time. Allow each 1/2 cup of broth to absorb before adding the next. Pour in the last 1/2 cup of broth along with the sauteed mushroom mixture and continue stirring to cook until the farro is chewy and firm.