Farro Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that makes your mouth water as you look at it.  It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s downright tasty! 

If you are trying to add more protein to your meals, or just trying to choose a better starch or grain, that’s where this recipe for farro risotto comes in. 

It’s all of the delicious flavors of traditional risotto, but with a healthier grain instead. 

What you will love about this farro risotto

This farro risotto recipe is a healthier version of the traditional risotto, since we are using farro grain instead of arborio rice.

Farro is an ancient grain that is packed full of protein and nutrients.  You will love this recipe, since we retain all of the flavors of traditional risotto, but we make it healthier by substituting the grain. 

Tips

Whenever you make risotto, you need to have your attention devoted to it since the method is a little time consuming.

The method for making risotto is the same no matter what rice or grain you are using. 

The starches are released by slowly adding chicken broth and wine to the rice or grain, cooking it down then adding more broth or liquid. 

It’s important to heat the chicken stock in a separate pot in order to ladle hot liquid into the farro.  This is what gives risotto that creamy texture in the end. 

Ingredients

For this particular risotto recipe, we are sticking with the traditional ingredients barring our grain.  Since the texture of farro is more chewy and dense than arborio rice, I want to stay consistent with the essence of the flavor in order for it to resemble traditional risotto. 

It will taste like standard risotto, but the texture will not since we are using a completely different starch/grain. 

Farro is an ancient grain that hails from the Middle East.  It is extremely healthy and full of protein, especially in comparison to white rice or other grains. 

If you are wondering if farro is gluten free, it is not.  Since it is an ancient grain that falls somewhere in the wheat family, it does contain gluten, although it is only a fraction of what is in white flour and other grains.  

It is a very versatile grain and can be used in salads, main dishes and things like Budha bowls. 

You can even check out my delicious recipe for farro breakfast bowls with a Mexican flare.  You will love that one! 

When it comes to buying farro from your local grocery store, you will be able to find it but there are different kinds, and each kind has a different cooking time. 

For this recipe I used whole farro, as opposed to pearled or semi-pearled farro.  Whole farro takes much longer to cook, but that is what we want since we will be slowly adding our liquid to it to release the starches. 

For this farro risotto recipe, I want to have a word about the parmesan cheese we will be using.   I feel like I say this in every recipe that calls for cheese, but it’s important, and it needs to be said over and over.

So here it goes: DON’T USE PRE-GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE! 

The parmesan in this recipe is going to bring a lot of flavor to our risotto, so don’t ruin it by using pre-grated parmesan that is full of preservatives and won’t taste good. 

Go buy yourself a $3.50 wedge of fresh parmesan from Aldi and grate it yourself. 

Here are the ingredients for farro risotto:

  • Whole farro
  • Chicken broth
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Dry white wine
  • Yellow onion
  • Shallot
  • White mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley

How to make farro risotto

In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock and heat it until it is simmering. 

Finely dice the onion and shallot and mince the garlic.  Clean and slice the mushrooms. 

In a different saucepan, heat the olive oil up and add the onions, shallots and mushrooms to the pan, sautéing them for several minutes until they are soft and the onions are translucent.

Add the garlic, sautéing it for one minute. 

With the heat still on, add the farro grain, and sauté it with the other vegetables until it begins to crackle. Carefully add 1/3 cup of wine. 

Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Now is the time to begin adding the chicken stock and this will take some time.  Make sure your chicken stock is hot before adding it to the pan. 

Take a ladle of chicken stock and pour it over top of the farro mixture. The saucepan should be hot enough that the liquid immediately boils.  Stir the farro while it bubbles up and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes or so, add another 1-2 ladles of the chicken broth, stirring and then letting it simmer again (with the lid off).  

Keep adding chicken broth every 5 minutes or so, as you see the liquid being absorbed.  

After you have added all of the chicken broth, put the lid on the pot and simmer it for another 40-50 minutes.  It takes a long time for the farro to soak up all of the liquid and become soft. 

The farro will still have a bite to it, and will never be completely soft, but that is the nature of farro.  It is always slightly chewy. 

At the end of the cooking time, add the shredded parmesan and stir it in.  Taste it to see if you need to add any more salt. Top it with freshly chopped parsley and serve on warm plates.

Variations

If you don’t want to use wine in this recipe, it can be omitted, just replace the same amount of wine with chicken stock. 

Serving Suggestions

This farro risotto recipe is best served hot and on a pre-warmed plate.  Anything that contains fresh grated parmesan cheese that is melted should be served on a warm plate, otherwise the texture can get clumpy as it cools off. 

This dish is a good side dish for Chicken Piccata with Lemon Sauce

Equipment

  • 2 medium saucepans

FAQ’s

What does farro taste like?

Farro is a mild grain that tastes similar to brown rice.  It tends to have a chewier, more dense texture than rice, but the flavor is light and versatile.

How long does it take to cook farro?

It all depends on what kind of farro you buy.  Whole farro takes about 50 minutes or an hour to cook through completely, while semi-pearled farro only takes about 20 minutes. 

Farro Risotto

Print Recipe
Course Main Course
Keyword farro, risotto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

  • 2 medium saucepans

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup whole farro
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 oz white mushrooms
  • ½ cup onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Heat the chicken stock up to a simmer in a medium size saucepan.
  • Finely dice the onion and shallot, clean and slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic.
  • In a separate saucepan, heat up the olive oil and add the onions, shallots and mushrooms, sautéing them for 4-5 minutes until they are soft and the onions are translucent.
  • Add the garlic and sauté it for one minute.
  • Add the farro grain, salt and pepper to the hot saucepan and stir. Sauté it for several minutes, until it makes a crackling sound.
  • Carefully add the white wine and give it a stir.
  • Take 1-2 ladles of the hot chicken broth and pour it over the farro in the hot saucepan. It should immediately bubble up, stir it for a minute or 2. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes and let the liquid cook down.
  • After about 5 minutes add another ladle or 2 of the chicken broth, stirring it and letting it simmer again.
  • Repeat steps 7-8 every 5 minutes or so until all of the chicken broth is used up.
  • Put a lid on the risotto and let it simmer for another 40-50 minutes, or until the farro has cooked through. It will still have a bite to it and be a little chewy, since it is farro.
  • Add the lemon juice and freshly grated parmesan cheese, stir and serve it on warmed plates and top it with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!