Pesto Farro

This is a favorite at our house. The farro absorbs the flavor of the pesto more than pasta does, so it is subtler and melds with the sweetness of the farro. Any leftovers re-heat easily and make an excellent addition to a quick soup, packing in substance and flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, de-germed and minced
1 cup farro
3 cups water or light vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, as needed
3 tablespoons pesto, or to taste

METHOD:

Bring the 3 cups of water or stock to a boil and keep warm.

Heat a 2 quart chef’s pan or sauteuse over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the pan and heat. Once oil is hot, add the onions and carrots and cook until softened. Add the garlic and the herbs and cook until aromatic.

Add the farro and toss to coat with oil and vegetables. Add the hot water or stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and put a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar so steam escapes. Cook, giving a gentle stir every so often, for about 20 minutes. Do not stir too vigorously or your farro may become starchy like a risotto.

After 20 minutes, taste the farro. It should be almost done — the grains should be tender but still a little chewy. If it needs more time, check the level of the liquid and add more water as needed. Season with salt and pepper and finish cooking.

When done, add the 3 spoonsful of pesto to the pot and smear across the surface of the farro before stirring it in gently. Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or pesto if necessary.

Farro is ready to serve.

Chef’s Notes:

This dish is a good side dish, but by adding more vegetables to it such as celery, mushrooms, and greens such as kale, it can be much more substantial. Adding some meat such as sausage, diced ham, or shredded leftover roast chicken will make a nice one-dish meal.

YIELD: 4 servings