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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Whole New Grain - Farro: Recipe

Meredith's Food for Life
I am amazed at these whole grains that I never knew anything about before just recently. In my latest food magazine, they highlighted whole grains, clean eating, and so on. So as I've mentioned, I wanted to challenge myself to find out what theses things were all about and find ways to incorporate them into our lives.

Tonight's dinner was a roast pork loin with chopped salad, roasted potatoes, thinly sliced fresh fennel and this little dish made from Farro. Apparently it comes from Italy - and I say: "Wow" and "Who knew!?!" I wanted to see if it this grain, which is rice-like and nutty with a chewy texture once it's cooked, would behave like it's cousin: Arborio Rice.

At first, my kids were skeptical but once they tried it, they were hooked and suddenly I didn't think I had made quite enough for us. It look longer than the 15 minutes quoted on the package - but I also added some steps, most of which were completed quickly. It was delicious - and I was thrilled that when I walked away from the table I was full!

The pork roast wasn't finished cooking by the time the farro was complete so my kids suggested we eat the dish as our "appetizer." Man...we've taught them well!

Farro "Risotto" with Butternut Squash
serves about 8-10

1 cup farro, rinsed clean
1 medium onion, minced
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and chopped in chunks (I purchased this pre-packaged from the store)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon
1 14.5-oz can fat free, low-salt, chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring enough water to a boil that is sufficient to cook the squash. Once the water is boiling, gently lower the butternut squash into the pot and cook - about 15-20 minutes, until a fork pierces the flesh easily, drain well. Next, thaw the peas and drain, set aside.

In a large shallow pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until it foams gently. Add in the onion and saute until soft - about 6-8 minutes. Do not brown the onion, so lower the heat if needed. Next, raise the heat to high and add in the farro and mix well with the onion and butter until well coated and toasted - about 2 minutes.

Add in the broth and the water, gently, and mix well. Allow this mixture to cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Then, raise the temperature and boil the liquid until it reduces completely - about another 10 minutes - and stir often so the farro doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the liquid has been cooked off, add in the squash and the peas, an extra tablespoon of butter and stir well. Add in the brown sugar and serve.

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