Tuesday dinner: Farro with mushrooms and beans

Do you like quinoa? Are you still eating quinoa? Of course not. Everyone who is anyone has turned their back on that old and busted grain for the new hotness: farro.

Okay, so we still eat quinoa here, but the foodporn peddlers on TV — particularly the large-headed one with big teeth — have set their sights on this Italian grain as the new superfood that will solve obesity, cure world hunger and balance your checkbook (do people still balance their checkbooks?).

Farro prep takes a little time. Like arborio, it gains it bulk and thickens with liquid. But, it’s a little fussier than rice. It’s more like spelt, except farro must be soaked before cooking, whereas spelt can go right to boil.

I adapted a recipe from the new York times NYTimes.com (autocorrect on the iPad is annoying) and par-boiled my farro before introducing it to the pan with the mushrooms and beans. The tomatoes are nice and add a little color. I have to be honest: I had grape tomatoes as part of a meal while in San Diego and thought I would try it tonight, even though The Wife will pick them out. Turns out that I should have left them for a salad. Oh well.

Farro with mushrooms and beans
Adapted from The New York Times

  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained
  • 8 oz. farro
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh mushrooms (I went cremini and white. Mix it up.), sliced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, green shoots removed, minced
  • 3 tsp. herbes de provence
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

In a large saucepan, cover the farro with water and let stand while you prep your other ingredients.

When you are ready to cook, drain the farro with a fine strainer and return to the pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and allow to cook 6 to 8 minutes.

In the meantime, heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, at your onions and soften (approx. 3 minutes). Add the mushrooms to the pan and sweat, stirring frequently to evenly heat. When you have worked up a nice amount of liquid (after 10 minutes), add the garlic, herbes and beans, and stir to blend. Add all but the last cup of vegetable stock and return to a simmer. Add the farro and mix together. Let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the liquid reduces by one-third. If the pan gets too dry, use the remaining cup of stock.

Stir in the grated cheese and sprinkle with sea salt to balance the flavor. Serve hot.

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