Farro "Risotto" with Parmesan & Pea Shoots
Eating intact grains – as Summer Tomato refers to them – is not the same as eating foods labeled as “whole grain.” Intact grains are just that, not ground into flour or broken into pieces. Filling and nutritious, intact grains are a whole food, as well as a healthy, busy cook’s best friend. Cook them – and legumes like navy, chickpea, black, or pinto beans while you’re at it – in big batches and use throughout the week.
For a delicious, filling break from oatmeal, warm cooked quinoa on the stove or in the microwave with milk, cinnamon, honey, and chopped walnuts (or try this version of hazelnut quinoa with dried cherries, one of my favorite day starters). Make a quick salad for lunch or dinner with greens topped with warmed chickpeas and farro, toasted nuts, avocado, and a simple lemon/olive oil dressing – scrumptious, fast, and satisfying. For more ideas, see Summer Tomato’s tips on How to Eat Healthy When You Have No Time.
Or, make “risotto” with a grain other than rice. Barley makes a fabulous risotto-style dish, as does farro. In the version below, I stir pea shoot leaves and grated Parmesan cheese into warm, chewy farro, fragrant with onions, garlic, and a splash of wine. Perfect on its own, or served alongside grilled chicken or salmon, it’s bursting with flavor and texture yet ready in about 30 minutes.
Farro “Risotto” with Parmesan & Pea Shoots
Serves 4 as main course, 6 as a side dish
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. farro, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. dry white wine
2 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
2 c. pea shoot leaves (or spinach leaves, shelled peas, fava beans, chopped asparagus…vary as you like)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to the pan, sprinkle with a little salt, and saute until onion is translucent, 10 minutes.
Add farro and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in wine and cook until wine is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on lowest heat for 20 minutes. Liquid should be absorbed and farro should be tender/chewy. If liquid is not absorbed, cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
When farro is done, stir in Parmesan, pea shoot leaves, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with additional Parmesan & black pepper if you like. Leftovers are good at room temperature, served atop a green salad.