Farro is a type of nutty wheat grain that can be used in place of pasta or rice in a variety of recipes. It has pointed grains that are harder than standard wheat and require a longer processing and cooking time than other wheat when eaten in its natural, unprocessed form. Its flavour is similar to that of brown rice. Even with the additional cooking time, farro is a relatively simple grain to prepare, especially if you use the more processed versions of the grain that are available.
Makes 2 servings
1 cup (225 ml) farro
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
Part 1 Preparing the Farro
1. Select the type of farro that you want. This grain is available in a variety of forms, including whole, semi-pearled, and pearled.
Cooking whole-grain farro takes longer (about 3 hours) than cooking semi-pearled or pearled farro, but it is the healthiest and contains the greatest amount of fibre. It can be more difficult on sensitive digestive systems, and its flavour is earthier and nuttier than that of more processed alternatives.
Cooking time for semi-pearled farro is approximately half that of whole-grain farro because the bran has been scored, allowing heat to reach the centre of the grain much more quickly. However, it contains less nutritional value than whole-grain farro.
Pearled farro has had its bran completely removed, making it suitable for cooking. It is the most convenient, but it is also the least nutritious, form of food.
2. If desired, soak the farro for a few minutes. It is not necessary to soak semi-pearled and pearled farro; however, soaking whole farro can significantly reduce the amount of time spent cooking it.
Placing the farro in a large bowl and covering it with cool water overnight in the refrigerator will yield the best results.
3. Remove the farro from the water. Fill a colander with fine-mesh strainer and rinse the farro under cool running water until the water runs clear.
This step should be completed regardless of whether or not the farro has been soaked previously.
Part 2 Boiling the Farro
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the water and salt and heat over medium-high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil.
2. Add in the farro and mix well. Make sure the farro is completely submerged in the water before turning the heat down to low or medium-low.
Cooking the water should be done at a gentle simmer.
It is also possible to combine the farro and water at the same time. Simply bring the farro and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat, then reduce the heat once a rolling boil has been achieved, stirring the farro constantly to prevent it from sticking to the side or bottom of the saucepan.
3. Cook until the potatoes are chewy, tender, or mushy, depending on your preference. It can take anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes to cook farro, depending on the type of farro you use and your preference for texture.
Allow for up to 3 hours of boiling time for whole farro that has not been pre-soaked before cooking. This will ensure that the farro is digestible.
Allow 30 minutes of cooking time for dry whole farro to achieve a chewy texture. To cook pre-soaked whole farro for 15 minutes, and semi-pearled or pearled farro for 20 minutes, follow the package directions.
Allow for 40 minutes of cooking time for dry whole farro to achieve a tender texture. Allow for approximately 25 to 30 minutes of cooking time for pre-soaked whole farro, and approximately 30 minutes of cooking time for semi-pearled or pearled farro.
Allow for 60 minutes of cooking time for dry whole farro to achieve a mushy texture. Allow for approximately 40 minutes of cooking time for pre-soaked whole farro. Farro that has been semi-pearled or pearled should be cooked for 35 to 45 minutes.
After the first 20 minutes, check the texture every 5 to 10 minutes for the next 20 minutes.
4. Excess water should be drained. The farro will absorb the majority of the water, but depending on how long you cook the farro, there may be some extra water left in the bottom of the saucepan after cooking.
5. Serve warm. Allow the farro to cool for a few minutes before consumption.
3. Alternative Cooking Methods
1. Farro can be cooked in a rice cooker. Cook for approximately 45 minutes in a rice cooker with 1 cup (225 mL) farro and 3 cups (750 mL) water, according to package directions.
Make use of farro that has been soaked. The farro should be soaked for at least 8 hours overnight before cooking.
Manually set the time to 45 minutes on your computer. If your rice cooker has different settings for different types of grains or rice, use the “Brown Rice” setting if it has that option.
2. Prepare the farro in a pressure cooker according to package directions. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes with 1 cup (225 mL) farro and 3 cups (750 mL) water, stirring occasionally.
There is no need to soak the farro for this method because it will cook in approximately the same amount of time regardless of how it is prepared.
Cook the farro for two to three whistles until it is tender.
Part 4 Variations
1. Farro can be served as an antipasto. The farro and other ingredients should be cooked in separate batches before being mixed together and served.
Using a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked farro with 1/4 cup (60 mL) minced red onion, 1/4 cup (60 mL) diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil, and wine vinegar, to taste.
Allow for 30 minutes to 1 hour to allow the flavours to meld together.
Before serving, fold in fresh parsley and fresh basil to taste.
Optional toppings include diced peppers, black olives, steamed greens, or cold poached seafood, depending on your preference.
2. Farro can be prepared in the same way as pasta. Prepare the two dishes separately and combine them just before serving time.
Smaller pasta shapes, such as orzo, tend to work best, but any type of pasta can be used in this recipe.
Depending on your preference, you can serve the dish warm or cold.
Sauces made from tomatoes are particularly effective at enhancing the flavour.
3. Toss in the beans and cheese. It is possible to make a variety of dishes using farro, beans, and cheese as ingredients.
By sautéing diced onion, diced sweet peppers, minced garlic, and pinto beans, you can create a type of risotto. Pour 2 cups (500 mL) of vegetable or chicken broth into the farro mixture, 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time, until the farro is completely cooked. Cook each addition until it is completely absorbed, then serve with Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Cooked farro or farro antipasto can be enriched with 2 cups (500 mL) of drained and rinsed pinto beans. Additionally, a small amount of Parmesan cheese or toasted walnuts can be added to the mixture.
3. Make the farro a little sweeter. Toss cooked farro with ricotta cheese and honey to taste in a large mixing bowl at room temperature. As a finishing touch, sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
4. Toss with the mushrooms that have been sautéed. Portobello and wild mushrooms can be combined with warm cooked farro to make a delicious dish.
A small amount of olive oil should be added to a skillet. Thick Portobello mushrooms or wild mushrooms are browned in a skillet with diced onion.
Pour a splash of white wine into the pan to deglaze it.
Toss with the farro that has been heated.
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