Recipe: Put the farro in risotto


Hearty farro replaces rice in this satisfying one-pot dish that looks to risotto for inspiration. Traditional risotto is made with Arborio rice, which is more neutral in flavor than farro. The rice releases its starch while constantly stirred and slowly cooked in a flavorful broth, resulting in a creamy risotto.

Farro, in contrast, is a hearty ancient wheat grain with a nutty, wholesome flavor. It holds its shape when cooked and is not prone to overcooking and creaminess, resulting in a comforting, toothsome dish.

Earthy mushrooms complement the rustic farro in this dish, adding rich umami flavor. You can use wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles or shiitakes, or cremini in a pinch. Sweet peas contrast and brighten the earthiness of the dish with color and pops of juicy sweetness. For the stock, use a good-quality chicken stock or mushroom stock to amplify flavor and keep the dish vegetarian-friendly.

Farrotto With Wild Mushrooms and Peas

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

▶ 4 cups chicken or mushroom stock    

▶ Kosher salt

▶ 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 

▶ 8 ounces wild mushrooms, such as shiitakes or chanterelles, cleaned and trimmed (halved or quartered if large)

▶ Freshly ground black pepper

▶ 2 shallots, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup

▶ 1 large garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press

▶ 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

▶ 1 1/4 cups semi-pearled farro, rinsed

▶ 1/2 cup dry white wine

▶ 1/2 cup fresh cooked peas or defrosted frozen peas

▶ 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish

▶ 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves 

▶ 2 tablespoons chopped chives 

▶ 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

▶ Bring the stock and 1 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

▶ Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and black pepper. Saute until the mushrooms begin to release their juices and brown in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

▶ Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet. Add the shallots and saute over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and stir until fragrant. Add the farro and stir to coat and lightly toast the grains, about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and simmer until the wine is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally.

▶ Begin adding the stock, 1 cup at a time. Add the next cup when the previous liquid has been nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally, until the last cup has been absorbed and the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. (If needed, add a little more stock or hot water to achieve the desired consistency.)

▶ Stir in the mushrooms, peas, cheese, parsley, chives and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper to your taste. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with cheese and serve immediately.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning writer, cookbook author, and recipe developer based in northern California. Visit TasteFood at


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