Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Tomato Basil Farro Risotto

It's been interesting working from home these past few months. While it's nice sleeping in, I am struggling with my new office being just a few steps away from the fridge 😅 I have definitely had to step back and check myself before I wreck myself (and my diet). 

Instead of depriving yourself completely, I always think it's easier to take your favorite recipe and alter it slightly with a healthy substitution - enter the farro risotto or as I like to say, farrotto. Instead of the traditional risotto which is made with arborio rice, you can make it with farro! Farro is an ancient grain that is loaded with protein, fiber and nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins! The texture will be slightly chewier than traditional risotto, but I actually prefer the nutty flavor and because it's packed with protein, it will leave you feeling satisfied!

Cooking Notes: I made this vegetarian but you are welcome to add ground beef or sausage to really bulk up this dish. You can also go crazy with the veggies too -- fresh corn off the cob would be a lovely addition!

Roasted Tomato Farro Risotto 

yields 6-8 servings 

 2 TBS unsalted butter
 1/2 of a yellow onion - diced 
 3 cloves garlic - minced
 1/2 tsp kosher salt
 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
 1 1/2 cups Farro — rinsed and drained
 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth — divided (or use chicken broth if you do not need the farro risotto to be vegetarian)
 1 (14-ounce) can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes — or 1 pound diced fresh tomatoes
  1/2 tsp sugar
 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese — plus additional for sprinkling on top later on
 1 TBS chopped fresh oregano (preferably Italian Oregano) 
 Chopped fresh basil to garnish

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Watch the heat and adjust as needed so that the onion cooks but does not turn crispy and brown. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Let cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the farro, increase the heat to medium, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to coat the farro in the butter. The farro should begin to toast and the pan will be mostly dry.

2. Add 3/4 cup of the broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Stir until it is absorbed. Add remaining broth and the diced tomatoes in their juices (reserve the last 1 cup of broth for later).
Give the pot a big stir and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture vigorously every 15 minutes as it cooks, adding more broth if it becomes dry at any point.

3. After the farro has been simmering 30 minutes and continue cooking, uncovered, for 15 to 20 additional minutes, or until the farro is tender throughout but maintains a good chew in the center (al dente), stirring it more frequently as the end of the cooking times nears. If the risotto becomes dry at any point, splash in a bit more vegetable broth or water.

4. Turn off the heat. Stir in the sugar, Parmesan, and oregano. Cover the pot and let rest 5 minutes. (During this time, the farro will release additional starches and become more creamy.) Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve warm, topped with a sprinkle of fresh basil and Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from  Well Plated

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