Farro, the “new” ancient grain

Farro (pronounced FAHR-oh) is one of the oldest grains originally found in the Middle East but not grown primarily in Italy. Farro is an ancient grain that is now being rediscovered by chefs throughout Europe and North America. It is not wheat, but a plant and grain all its own. A farro grain looks like light brown rice and has a nutty taste that’s reminiscent of oats and barley. Lighter than other whole grains, farro, contains a starch similar to Arborio rice, which releases a creamy, binding liquid when cooked. It is rich in protein, fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E, farro is easily digested and low in gluten, which makes it a good choice for those who are wheat-sensitive. It is grown in Italy.

A few months ago I was in Costco and noticed a huge bag of Farro and not knowing what it was I passed it up and got some more Quinoa. Finally, I decided to try it after my sister-in-law said I should. I was really delighted because it is almost creamy like risotto. I thought this recipe was great for fall/winter. Yum!

Farro and Butternut Squash
Serves 6-8 as side dish

2 c pearled farro, rinsed and drained
1 t salt
5 c water or stock (I used 2 c vegetable broth and 3 c water)
3 c butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ to 1″ diced
1 red onion cut into 1/8ths
1 T fresh thyme, minced
3 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 c walnuts, deeply toasted
3 t olive oil
1/4 c goat cheese, crumbled (goat feta)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. After rinsing the farro, combine with salt and water or stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the farro is tender 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain any water and set aside.

While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion and thyme with the olive oil. balsamic vinegar and couple pinches of salt on a baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the squash and onions about every 5-7 minutes to brown on all sides. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes and then minced 1/2 of the red onions.

In a large bowl toss everything (except cheese) with the oil. Taste and season as necessary. Garnish with goat cheese.



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