Farro fit for King
Farro, an ancient grain believed to have sustained the Roman legions, has made from ancient times to the New World. Used in soups, salads and desserts, brown grain is an wonderful alternative to pasta and rice.
But now farro (pronounced FAHR-oh) appears to be moving from rustic tables into fashionable restaurants not only in Tuscany and northern Italy (where it suddenly seems ubiquitous on menus), but also in the United States, particularly on the West and East Coasts. Farro dishes are now regularly on the menus at high-profile restaurants like Union Square Cafe in Manhattan, Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., and Olivetto in Oakland, Calif.
''People come from all over just to eat the farro,'' said Domenico Maurici, who has a World Wide Web site -- http:// www.so-cal.com/ilfarro -- about the grain, which he imports from Italy.
Farro is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E. It grows best in barren, high-altitude terrain and is almost always grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Because it is so easily digested and so low in gluten, farro can often be eaten by people who are normally gluten-intolerant.
Farro flour, made from ground grain, can be used for making both bread and pasta.
farro is an ancient, unhybridized grain used for thousands of years in North Africa and the Middle East, where farro kernels have been found in Egyptian tombs. During the height of the Roman Empire, farro was used as a primary food and probably even as money.
True farro is Triticum dicoccum, an unhybridized wheatlike plant that has two spikes and is in the wheat family.
Grano farro, the original grain from which all others—rice, barley, wheat and rye—derive, fed the Roman legions during their conquest of the known world. Ground into a paste and cooked into a polenta called plus, it sustained Rome's poor for centuries.
Farro fell out of favor because the grain is difficult to grow and yields are often low. However, in recent decades French chefs in top-ranked restaurants began using it in hearty vegetable soups and other dishes. Rich in fiber, protein, and B vitamins, farro provides health benefits that have made it increasingly popular worldwide.
Farro's unique flavor, a cross between barley and wheat, makes a delicious hot soup when cooked in broth or drained like pasta and tossed with roasted vegetables and perfectly salty ricotta salata cheese for a delicious salad. It is also terrific in farrotto, a traditional farro risotto.
Farrotto With Tomatoes And Pecorino
Adapted from Marta Pulini
Total time: 45 minutes
1 1/2 cups whole-grain farro
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig rosemary, 1 sprig sage and 1 garlic clove tied together in cheesecloth)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 peeled garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
10 basil leaves
Pinch of red pepper flakes, crushed
1 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
6 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional shavings of Pecorino cheese.
1. Rinse the farro in a fine sieve and rinse under cool running water. Transfer to a large, heavy saucepan and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water. Add the salt and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Drain, and spread the farro in a shallow pan to cool off. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, mix well and let rest.
2. Place a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add 4 tablespoons of oil and the garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, 5 basil leaves and hot red pepper to taste. Add the farro, mix very well and add 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth.
3. Cook over medium heat, stirring slowly and constantly. Add more broth when the farro has absorbed the previous liquid. Keep adding broth until the farro is tender but still has a bit of bite, about 17 minutes.
4. Stir in the grated Pecorino, the remaining basil leaves and the rest of the oil. Stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Serve the farrotto in soup bowls, topped with shaved Pecorino, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 375 calories, 20 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 690 milligrams sodium, 9 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrate.
Farro and Maple Syrup Pudding
Adapted from Patti Jackson
Total time: 80 minutes plus overnight soak
1 1/2 cups whole-grain farro
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup dark brown sugar.
1. Put the farro in a fine sieve and rinse under cool running water. Transfer to a bowl, cover with two inches of water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Drain farro and set aside.
3. In a bowl, mix together the milk, cream, melted butter, maple syrup, salt and eggs. Add the drained farro, mixing well.
4. Pour mixture into a greased 1 1/2-to-2-quart shallow casserole dish and bake on the middle level for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture and sprinkle the top with the brown sugar. Raise the oven heat to 300 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more, until set.
5. The farro pudding can be served hot, warm or cold. It can also be served plain or with whipped cream, nut biscotti, fresh fruit or a combination.
Yield: 6 servings.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 535 calories, 25 grams fat, 190 milligrams cholesterol, 205 milligrams sodium, 13 grams protein, 65 grams carbohydrate.
Moroccan Farro with Kale, Pomegranate, and Almonds
1 1/2 C Farro ( or wheat or rye berries)
3 C water
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 Cups chopped Lacinato Kale ( one bunch)
6 cloves sliced garlic
1 T fine chopped ginger
1/3 C golden raisins.
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 C fresh pomegranate seeds
In a small pot bring farro, water, salt and allspice to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low and simmer for 45 min's or until farro is tender and water is mostly gone.
In the mean time, saute ginger and garlic on med low heat in 3 T Olive oil. When lightly browned add chopped kale. Cook slowly on low heat, stirring often for about 5 min. Add 1/3 C golden raisins. Let simmer on lowest setting until kale is tender ...about 15min. - See more at: http://www.feastingathome.com/2012/01/new-year-cleaning-out-your-pantry.html#sthash.a7Qdg6Pe.dpuf