Tuesday, January 15, 2008

sunday supper: grain expectations

I took a risotto risk: Sweet Pea Farro Risotto. After my recent pastry debacle, I've been thinking a lot about farro. I was pretty intrigued by its nutty flavor and firm bite, and really wanted to try it in a savory recipe. Some time ago, I had an enchanting risotto made from spelt, so I figured that farro's close resemblance to spelt meant it would be a safe substitute. The results were pretty good, though it certainly took a little more finagling than a classic risotto with arborio. The pastiera recipe had called for soaking the farro for 3 days. It was too late for that. But I had seen Lydia say that it needed to soak for only 1 hour. I ended up soaking for about 30 minutes, then simmering for about 30 minutes before draining and beginning the actual risotto.

From that point, I basically treated it like any risotto, and though it cooked through just fine with the same amount of stock that I usually use, it did seem to be slower, taking more time to absorb the same amount of liquid. It also turned out a little runnier than risotto I've made in the past, but I've never been entirely sure how thick or how runny risotto should actually be anyway.

I paired the risotto with rosemary-marinated lamb chops, simply seared on a hot pan. Those were excellent and a great companion with the risotto. All in all, a pretty successful experiment, but I'm not sure it can really take the place of good old arborio rice.

Recipes after the jump:


1 1/2 cups farro
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 cup sweet peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup parmiggiano-reggiano, grated
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Soak the farro in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

In a risotto pot or large saute pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the farro and saute to coat with oil. Add wine and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed by the grain. Add a ladle of chicken stock and continue to stir frequently until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock a ladle at a time, stirring until absorbed, until the farro is almost al dente and the liquid has taken on a creamy consistency. If using fresh peas, add the peas when you have about 2 ladles of stocks left to add. If using frozen, add with the last ladle. When the farro has reached al dente, remove from heat and stir in the cheese and parsley. Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired. Serve with additional grated cheese and chopped parsley for garnish.


(Proportions are for 2 servings of 2 chops each, about 5-6 ounces per serving)

4 single cut lamb rib chops, frenched if desired
3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Lightly salt the lamb chops on both sides. Whisk together rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper and spoon over the chops, being sure to get marinade on both sides of the chops. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes or up to an hour.

Heat a heavy skillet or grill pan over high heat. Sear lamb chops about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.

1 comment:

Leah said...

Just had to comment--that looks so yummy--and the risotto looks like the consistency I like risotto to be, as in creamy rather than gummy. I've only tried it once myself, and I found it needed about six times the recommended broth.