So, there's this grain that I'm totally crazy about.
Even though Triticum Dicoccum has been around since the golden days of Egyptian pharaohs, farro (its super sexy Italian street name) is only recently turning heads in American kitchens.
I'm not one to become easily infatuated though--and any honeymoon period we might have had is long over:
This is no fling.
I have a full-fledged love affair with farro.
With a cashew nutty-flavor and a toothy texture from separate, burst-able grains that almost beg to relished singly, farro thrives in rustic soups and as an absorbent bed beneath saucy stars like chicken piccata.
Or cooled and used as the heart of a new, satisfying breed of salads.
Or stirred with fresh ricotta, honey, and cinnamon for a take on the favorite rib-sticking breakfast of Italy's mountain-side farmers.
There are myriad other ways that I picture riding into the sunset with farro, but sometimes I just want it to be the two of us with a bottle of wine.
In my admiring eyes, the ancient grain's never quite so desirable as when it's center stage, standing in for arborio rice, cleverly calling itself farrotto. Follow the very same process, fold in spring's verdant prizes, and just try to walk away unsmitten.
Fortunately, farro becomes no less wholesome for amassing throngs of lovers.
- 1 cup of uncooked farro yields a heaping 2 cups of cooked farro.
- Whole-grain farro, with its fiber-, protein-rich bran and germ entirely intact, should be covered with cool water and soaked overnight in the fridge (8 to 16 hours, depending on how lucky you are).
- Semiperlato (semipearled) farro's bran is scored, allowing heat to reach the center quicker, and does not need to be soaked.
- Pearled farro has had its bran completely removed, which makes it the fastest cooking, but also the least nutrient-rich, of the bunch.
- Prior to cooking, all types of farro should be put in a strainer and rinsed under cold running water until the water runs clear.
- If you have the time, toasting the farro for five minutes in a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium-low heat elevates its nutty flavor.
- For every cup of farro, use three cups of liquid, and no smaller than a 4- to 5-qt pot.
- Bring stock, water (or some combination of the two), plus a teaspoon of salt (per cup of farro) to a boil before adding the rinsed or rinsed and toasted grains.
- After re-achieving the boil, drop the flame to maintain a lively simmer.
- Cook with pot partially covered, stirring occasionally, until grains are tender but still chewy and pop-able: 30-45 minutes for whole-grain; 15-25 minutes for semi-pearled and pearled.
- While the farro will absorb a lot of the liquid, there is usually some remaining. Drain it in a sieve (reserving the liquid if you've used stock--it can be elemental to an accompanying pan sauce).
- Cooked farro will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to five days and is best reheated with a touch of water or stock.
- Uncooked whole grain farro stores in a cool, dark cabinet indefinitely.
- Keep an opened package of semi-pearled or pearled farro in the freezer for up to six months.